Ethanol can be produced using almost any crop or plant that contains a large amount of sugar or components that can be converted into sugar. Most ethanol is produced by a four-step process:
1. Ethanol feedstock (crops or plants) is ground up 2. Sugar is either dissolved from ground material or the starch or cellulose is converted into sugar3. Microbes feed on the sugar and produce ethanol and carbon dioxide as byproducts4. The ethanol is then purified to achieve the correct concentration
Ethanol can also be produced through a wet-milling process, which also yields byproducts such as high-fructose corn syrup.
Ethanol is made by fermenting the sugars and starches in crops such as corn, sugar cane, sugar beets, sorghum, wheat, rice, barley, sunflower, and potatoes. Through the process of fermentation, yeast produces carbon dioxide and ethanol after reacting with simple sugars. According to Purdue University Extension School, “for each pound of simple sugars, yeast can produce approximately 1/2 pound (.15 gallons) of ethanol and an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide”. For corn-based ethanol, the full process is as follows:
Follow the second link for a detailed description of each of these processes!
Feedstocks from carbohydrate rich foods are ground to flour, and then converted to sugars using enzymes. These sugars are then fermented using yeasts, a process that converts then to carbon dioxide and ethanol. This created an ethanol rich mash.
The mash is then distilled and dehydrated to isolate and remove the ethanol from the other components of the mixture.
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