Ethanol use as a fuel additive or directly as a fuel source has grown in popularity due to governmental regulations and in some cases economic incentives based on environmental concerns as well as a desire to reduce oil dependency. As a consequence, several countries are interested in developing their internal market for use of this biofuel. Currently, almost all bio-ethanol is produced from grain or sugarcane. However, as this kind of feedstock is essentially food, other efficient and economically viable technologies for ethanol production have been evaluated. This article reviews some current and promising technologies for ethanol production considering aspects related to the raw materials, processes, and engineered strains development. The main producer and consumer nations and future perspectives for the ethanol market are also presented. Finally, technological trends to expand this market are discussed focusing on promising strategies like the use of microalgae and continuous systems with immobilized cells.