What is Ethanol?

The main ingredient for ethanol production varies depending on the country. In the United States, grain corn is the primary ingredient while in Brazil it’s sugarcane.

Each kernel of corn is high in starch, a type of sugar. That sugar can easily be converted into a clean burning, highly efficient, and renewable grain alcohol, commonly referred to as ethanol. Ethanol can also be used as an ingredient in personal care and beauty products, paints, and varnishes.

As a natural byproduct of plant fermentation, the protein and fiber that remain, become a high-quality animal feed called distillers grains. Other co-products include corn oil, corn syrup, and carbon dioxide that is captured and used in carbonated drinks or to make dry ice.

A renewable resource, ethanol is made from field corn, commonly used for livestock feed. This “grain alcohol” has been used for over a century as an engine fuel, including Henry Ford’s famous Model T. Despite rumors to the contrary, E15 is safe for all 2001 and newer cars, SUV’s, and light duty trucks. It is EPA approved and is the most widely tested fuel on the market.

Corn is an a-maizing plant. Over four thousand products are made with grain corn – as opposed to sweet corn. In fact, only one percent of all the corn grown in the United States is sweet corn! One of the most amazing products made from grain corn is ethanol, also called ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol.

Curious about the process that turns grain corn into ethanol?

From field to tank, we invite you to ‘join us’ on this tour. When you’re through, let us know in the comments how many co-products come from this process. We’re guessing you’ll have the right answer!