Winter barley has attracted strong interest as a potential feedstock for fuel ethanol production in regions with mild winter climate such as the mid-Atlantic and northeastern USA. Ten recently developed and improved winter barley cultivars and breeding lines including five hulled and five hull-less lines were experimentally evaluated for potential ethanol production. The five hulled barley lines included three released cultivars (Thoroughbred, Atlantic, and Secretariat) and two breeding lines (VA09B-34 and VA11B-4). The five hull-less lines also included three released cultivars (Eve, Dan, and Amaze 10) and two breeding lines (VA08H-65 and VA13H-34). On the average, the hull-less barley cultivars produced more ethanol per unit mass because of their higher starch and β-glucan contents. However, since the hulled barley cultivars had higher agronomic yield, the potential ethanol production per acre of land for the two types were approximately equal. Among the ten cultivars tested, the hull-less cultivar Amaze 10 was the best one for ethanol production. The ethanol yield values obtained for this cultivar were 2.61 gal per bushel and 292 gal per acre.
Keywords: Fermentation; Fuel ethanol; Starch hydrolysis; Winter barley; β-Glucan hydrolysis.