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Abstract

Rising prices and uncertain supplies of petroleum, together with environmental concerns regarding fossil fuel combustion, have enhanced interest in biobased products and fuels. This study analyzes the feasibility of a multi-product biorefinery that uses wheat straw as feedstock to produce ethanol, electricity, and cellulose nanofibers. Nanofibers (nanowhiskers) would be used as reinforcements in a biobased nanocomposite material that could substitute for fiberglass in many applications. The growth of a biobased industry could have major economic development implications for the Great Plains/Midwest region.

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