Prospects for ethanol production from sugar beet in The Netherlands have been analysed using measured production data from two experimental farms and literature on beet to ethanol conversion. The analyses include beet cultivation and harvesting, transport to the factory, conversion into ethanol and delivery of the ethanol to distribution points. Under the prevailing conditions, ethanol production from sugar beet shows to be reasonably energy efficient. A net energy production has been calculated of 32 and 37 GJ/ha. Crop and ethanol yields are above those reported elsewhere, as is the energy use per hectare which is related to crop yield. Applying alternative energy generating technology at the ethanol factory suggests that considerable energy gains can be realised. Another source of variation is the allocation ratio of energy to ethanol and by–products. The calculations suggest that the prospects for ethanol production from sugar beet in Europe can be considerable, if energy inputs can be reduced, by using crop residues.
Keywords: sugar beet, ethanol, bioenergy, energy efficiency, allocation ratio, by–products, residues, clay soil, peat soil, The Netherlands, energy production, biofuels, beet cultivation, beet harvesting, beet transport, beet conversion, ethanol distribution