AbstractAlthough the use of ionic liquids (ILs) has provided a potentially effective technical tool to improve the lignocellulosic ethanol production process, the technology still is facing great challenges with respect to its efficiency and economic viability. This editorial gives a systematical analysis of the potential and limitations of lignocellulosic ethanol production using IL technology. The use of ILs establishes a new platform for fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass. The IL pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass can greatly increase its saccharification rate and the fermentable sugar yield. Use of ILs can also intensify the ethanol fermentation process and improve ethanol separation efficiency from its fermentation broth. However, many technical difficulties still exist in reducing the process costs and alleviating the environmental and ecological effects. More research and financial support are needed to overcome these difficulties.