This article by Absolute Futures will show how many bushels of Corn are required to produce just one gallon of ethanol. This will definitely impress upon anyone who trades the commodity corn, how Ethanol production impacts the total supply of Corn available for live cattle feed, as well as, other domestic uses.
Each bushel of corn can produce up to 2.5 gallons of ethanol fuel. Only the starch from the corn is used to make ethanol. Most of the substance of the corn kernel remains, leaving the protein and valuable co-products to be used in the production of food for people, livestock, feed, and various chemicals. For example, that same bushel of corn (56 lbs.) used in ethanol manufacturing can also produce the following products depending on the process used to produce Ethanol. Ethanol is produced from corn by using one of two standard processes, wet-milling or dry-milling. Dry-milling plants cost less to build and produce higher yields of ethanol, but the value of co-products is less.
The wet-milling process produces 31.5 pound of starch or 33 lbs. of sweetener, or 2.5 gallons of Ethanol fuel and 12.4 lbs. of 21% protein feed and 3.0 lbs of 60% gluten meal and 1.5 lbs. of Corn Oil and 17 lbs. Of Carbon Dioxide.
The dry-milling process 2.5 gallons of Ethanol fuel and 15 lbs. of brewer yeast, 10 eight oz. pkgs. of cheese curls, 1 lb. of pancake mix, 22 lbs. of hominy feed for live cattle, 0.7 lbs. of Corn Oil, and 17 lbs. of Carbon Dioxide.
One of the most controversial issues relating to ethanol is the question of "net energy" of ethanol production. According to the Institute for Local Self Reliance research in 1995, the production of ethanol from corn is a positive net energy generator. If corn farmers use state-of-the-art, energy efficient farming techniques, and ethanol plants use state-of-the-art production processes, then the amount of energy contained in a gallon of ethanol and the other co-products is more than twice the energy used to grow the corn and convert it into ethanol.
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