Where does Ethanol come from?

The simple answer is “CORN”. For those interested in a more detailed explanation read on. Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV) run on a blend of 85% Ethanol and 15% gasoline. Previously it used to be 90% Ethanol and 10% gasoline. Hence a much cleaner burning fuel. Ethanol is produced by fermenting and then distilling the sugars from agricultural crops such as corn. Similar to making beer. The only thing is that for it to be used as fuel in a FFV, the ethanol produced has to be 100% pure.
All agricultural crops and residues contain six-carbon sugars or compounds of these sugars. To produce ethanol from grain, the starch portion of the grain is exposed and mixed with water to form a mash. The mash is heated and enzymes are added to separate the fermentable sugars.
The next phase, fermentation, involves the addition of yeast to convert the sugars to ethanol and carbon dioxide. Fermentation produces a mixture called “beer,” which contains about 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent water. The “beer” is then boiled in a distillation column to separate the water, resulting in fuel-grade ethanol that is 85 to 95 percent pure. Ethanol production from grain utilizes only the starch.
A variety of highly valued feed co-products, including gluten meal, gluten feed and dried distillers grains, are produced from the remaining protein, minerals, vitamins and fiber and are sold as high-value feed for livestock. Ethanol is also produced today from wood waste, cheese whey, waste sucrose, potato waste, brewery waste, and food and beverage wastes (http://www.e85fuel.com/e85101/faqs/production.php).
Now is you really have a lot of time on your hands, you can read a thesis by Kelly Launder from MSU titled “From Promise to Purpose: Oppurtunities and Constraints for Ethanol Base Transportation Fuel” (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/CIS_EO_Ethanol_Thesis_87917_7.pdf). She wrote it primarily as part of a report for the State of Michigan’s Energy Office in 2001.

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About g2

Born and brought up in India. Went to St. Xavier's in Calcutta, Richmond University in London & McGill in Canada. Trained in clinical and experimental psychology. I have worked with autistic children and I was the Psychologist at the Adult ADHD Clinic at the Montreal Children's Hospital. Currently we are based in Michigan. I love traveling around the world and cooking.

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