Corn Ethanol

Global warming has had huge impact on the sustainability of energy generating resources. Just decades earlier scientists had begin experimenting with alternate fuel which now is commonly used in many developed countries. Perhaps, corn ethanol is one of the most widely used alternate energy source.

The Process

As its name implies, fuel is extracted from sugar present inside corn. After extraction the fuel is usually blended with gasoline. This blending has given rise to such categories as E10, E20 and E85, among others. E85 means the fuel is 85% ethanol.


The benefit of using corn based ethanol is its tendency to produce 15 – 20% less gas house emissions than typical gasoline. Moreover, ethanol fuel is renewable. For a typical user of this type of ethanol, the only disadvantage would be less energy output that can be generated from other sources. This is one of the reasons that vehicles built to use corn ethanol cannot generate high energy output to produce massive speeds.

Present Use

Nevertheless, industrialized nations are putting extra emphasis on using corn ethanol in the future. Such an undertaking was recently approved by US Congress where new laws would require government to produce four times as much corn ethanol as presently used. The Midwest states of the United States have already taken a leading role in realizing a future based on ethanol, where most fuel stations now carry the leading blend, E85. Amidst these new energy laws, mild corn ethanol blends are destined to recede into oblivion.

The reason that this type of ethanol hasn’t caught on with general public is because E85 blend does not save massive amounts of cash, when it comes to miles per gallon. In contrast, it is somewhat expansive. To get an idea, a vehicle would require $3.30 of E85 to drive the same distance as another vehicle on gas consuming only $3.00. Still, the growing awareness among public may convince people to try corn ethanol. This fuel form is mostly available in region where corn is produced. Hence, its higher costs are attributed to transportation. Without any dedicated pipelines, the transportation costs for delivering to fuel stations of major cities and remote regions costs additional dollars per mile.


It is expected that as technology progresses and means to extract and transport corn ethanol becomes steadier, its price will decrease, accordingly. Due to the existing debates on controversies surrounding the overall benefits, scientists have suggested using remnants of food production such as corn stover to produce fuel, instead of corn. These second generation bio fuel may act as a catalyst to produce massive amounts of corn ethanol at lower price.



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