High school students in rural area discover the beet ethanol industry
As part of a partnership project with a high school in the north of France, Leaf participated in introducing teenagers to industrial beet processing into various products. The students in the school’s science classes were involved in a “Science Festival” project, the theme of which this year was “Man and Nature”. With a focus on agriculture in northern France, of which sugar beet is a flagship agricultural product, the study of biofuels was an opportunity to deepen their academic program.
Performing the key steps of an industrial process
Fuel ethanol can be produced among others from sugar beet in a biotechnological process including a fermentation step. The high school students carried out several hands-on activities based on the beet ethanol processing steps, including fermentation. The corresponding protocols were developed jointly with a Leaf expert.
At this occasion, the students explored the notions of yeast growth and alcoholic fermentation, and then proceeded to distillation to obtain industrial ethanol. Only one more dehydration step is needed to get bioethanol that can be used directly as a fuel.
Exploring new professional horizons
Romain Fromanger, Leaf’s technical sales manager, was involved several times to adjust the process parameters according to the results obtained and to comment on them. This was an opportunity to answer the students’ questions both on the scientific aspects and on industrial and economic challenges of the ethanol industry.
Contributing to the protection of the planet through the reduction of greenhouse gases by valorizing local and renewable resources generated enthusiasm among the students. They discovered potential careers and perhaps for some of them a vocation.