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Demo Bioethanol Production

Welcome to the demo of the bioethanol production case. This demo case contains 5 questions. If you want to use the complete case in your lecture, please contact


This is a picture from a lecture of Jaime Finguerot of an ethanol producing plant of the Copersucar company in Brazil. In this case we assume that such a plant (the palm trees excluded) is located in Europe and you are the plant manager, the one responsible for production, cost and profit. As you can see, the plant consists of four fermenters, storage tanks, and, not to forget, you can see the top of a large distillation column.

Your company has a very flat organizational structure and the responsibility of the plant manager is very large. Career, salary and bonus are in the fast lane when you do a great job. However, this is just one side of the picture; you are hired to be fired when you do not.

Now real life starts. The CEO of the company tells you that you can get as much glucose as you want for 0.3 €/kg and you can sell as much as you want for 0.81 €/kg ethanol. Find the optimal conditions and make as much money as possible.


Klaas van ’t Riet
David Habeych Narvaez
Helena Teles
Roelof Schipperus
Hylke van der Schaaf

Creative Commons License

Bioethanol module by B-Basic is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Netherlands License. This project is financially supported by the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and the B-Basic partner organizations ( through B-Basic, a public-private NWO-ACTS programme (ACTS = Advanced Chemical Technologies for Sustainability).