Video Biofuels – From Sorghum to Ethanol (video)

TLF ID M020826

This is a video [6:05 min] about the production of ethanol from sorghum at the Dalby Bio-Refinery in Queensland. The video describes and illustrates the stages in the production process including milling the sorghum into ‘flour’; mixing the flour with water to hydrolyse the starch; adding enzymes to liquefy the starch (the ‘mash’) and convert it to glucose; fermenting the mash with yeast to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide; distilling and dehydrating the ethanol; and drying the by-products. Throughout the video Swart interpolates statistical information such as how much ethanol is produced from a tonne of sorghum and how much energy and water the refinery uses. The video is 6:05 min long and concludes by identifying environmental and performance benefits of ethanol as a fuel.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This is an excellent resource for studies of biofuel production from cultivated plant material in the curriculums of year 10 science and years 9 and 10 design and technologies. In science the video provides a detailed account of the sorghum to ethanol process that is highly relevant to the content description in the Science Understanding strand about different types of chemical reactions being used to produce a range of products. The chemical reactions described in the video include hydrolisation, fermentation and distillation and the products and by-products shown are ethanol, 'syrup' and WDGS (wet distillers grain solid) seen as 'wet cake' and 'dry cake' and used for animal feed.
  • The video is also relevant for the Knowledge and understand strands of the years 9 and 10 design and technologies curriculum. The Dalby bio-refinery would be an excellent case study, especially useful for content descriptions that refer to investigating and making judgments on how technologies and the characteristics and properties of materials, systems, components, and equipment can be combined to create designed solutions. Such a case study would be of value for the Sustainability cross-curriculum priority. The video contains many visual and spoken references to the techniques used in achieving sustainable industrial production.
  • There are also opportunities to explore the Science as a human endeavour strand as the video refers to advances in science affecting people's lives, including generating new career opportunities. Managerial careers in bio-refineries are two of the career opportunities brought about by scientific advances seen in the resource.
Year level

9; 10

Learning area
  • Science
  • Design and technologies
  • Technologies
  • Design

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
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  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: AgriFood Skills Australia
  • Organization: AgriFood Skills Australia
  • URL:
  • Publisher
  • Name: AgriFood Skills Australia
  • Organization: AgriFood Skills Australia
  • Description: Publisher
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Unknown
Learning Resource Type
  • Video
  • © AgriFood Skills Australia 2016. Except where indicated otherwise, this material may be used in accordance with the Standard YouTube License at