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With the decrease of fossil fuel-supply and increase of greenhouse gasses, biofuels are needed now more than ever. This includes bioethanol, an alternative fuel that can be made from waste materials, including C. Sativa (commonly known as hemp). The common belief in biological engineering is that the sugars from hemp can attract fermenting organisms to produce the needed ethanol. The question remains, however, of how external factors play into the ethanol production from hemp, such as fertilizer. I tested samples from three plots with different amounts of nitrogen fertilizer to see if the amount of sugar and ethanol varies or remains the same, and through a process of composition analysis of the sugars, pretreatment using an alkaline solution, enzymatic hydrolysis using cellulase, and fermentation using ethanol red, determined some significance regarding more sugars being produced in less fertilized fields. The connection from sugars to ethanol, however, remains to be thoroughly tested, as time constraints prevented me from taking enough samples to find any obvious trends or significance between the three plots. Future studies would include gathering more samples for both sugar and ethanol and redoing all processes in order obtain more reliable results.


I would like to thank the National Science Foundation for funding my research (NSF DBI 2050574) and the Agricultural Products Center of Biological Systems Engineering at UNL for aiding my research techniques and experience.

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