You keep hearing all about ethanol. How it’s a good thing for consumers and farmers. How it’s a homegrown fuel that helps the state and national economies. How it’s cleaner burning and better for the environment.
But how is it that a fuel made from corn grown in Iowa could be all that amazing? What makes ethanol so darn great?
At Iowa Corn, we think about it as the four E’s of ethanol: economy, environment, energy security and engine performance.
Iowa leads the nation in ethanol production, with 47 percent (1.3 billion bushels) of the corn grown in Iowa going to create nearly 30 percent of all American ethanol. The renewable fuels industry (including biodiesel) supports around 43,000 jobs in Iowa and accounts for $4.6 billion of Iowa’s GDP. Ethanol is good for Iowa all right. (Source: IRFA 2016 Economic Study)
Mother Nature is all about ethanol. The 14.7 billion gallons of ethanol produced in 2015 reduced greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping 41.2 million metric tons. That’s like removing 8.4 million cars from the road. Plus, ethanol production requires less water than gasoline, by a three to one margin.
Without 14.8 billion gallons of domestic ethanol used in the U.S. in 2015, the United States’ net import dependence would have stood at 32 percent instead of 25 percent. Said another way, the ethanol produced in 2015 displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 527 million barrels of crude oil. Take that, foreign oil!
Over the past decade, INDYCAR and NASCAR drivers have logged millions of miles racing on E85 and E15. Iowa Corn is proud to sponsor the Iowa Corn 300, which takes place each year on “The Fastest Short Track on the Planet” in Newton. The race helps demonstrate the power and performance of ethanol, and reminds consumers to fill up like the pros. Learn more.
When we talk about ethanol, we can’t forget that all of that corn that goes into an ethanol plant doesn’t just come out as fuel but 1/3 of the corn comes back out as DDGS. What are DDGS? If you ask a cow, it’s the best tasting feed ever! DDGS are distillers grains with solubles. But, ethanol plants can sell them dried or wet and can feed them locally or export them around the world. Ethanol plants use every part of the kernel that enters the plant so the starch becomes ethanol fuel and the protein becomes distillers grains to feed livestock.