We Believe in the Power of Ethanol
Our primary product is ethanol, a renewable fuel that makes use of local resources while protecting the environment. We start with a portion of the abundant corn crop grown by Wisconsin farmers to create a fuel that doesn’t harm the environment.
How exactly does ethanol protect the environment?
Ethanol produced from corn results in 34% lower greenhouse gas emissions when compared with gasoline–even when hypothetical land use emissions are considered. Without indirect emissions, average corn ethanol decreases greenhouse gas emissions by 44%. Adding the oxygen in ethanol reduces harmful tailpipe emissions from gasoline. In 2014, 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol diminished greenhouse gas emissions by 39.6 million metric tons, equal to removing 8.4 million cars from the road.
In addition, ethanol is fully biodegradable, making it a safe, high-performance replacement for other fuel additives such as MTBE.
Visit afdc.energy.gov to get the facts.
(Sources: RFA analysis using GREET Model; EIA)
What about the corn that goes into making ethanol?
Today’s Wisconsin family farmers produce 41% more corn than 30 years ago. Out of a record 14.2 billion bushels of total U.S. corn production in 2014, the majority (63%) went directly to the livestock industry as feed. Net corn use for ethanol production totaled 3.6 billion bushels. The ethanol industry used another 1.6 billion bushels of corn to produce an estimated 39 million metric tons of animal feed, primarily in the form of distillers grains, which returned directly to the livestock industry.
As technology constantly increases, a farmer’s ability to grow more corn per acre and improved efficiencies influence ethanol production. Even in years when weather factors limit production, U.S. agricultural effectiveness ensures some surplus corn after the needs of all users are supplied.
Find more information from the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association at wicorn.org/corn-facts.
(Sources: USDA-NASS; USDA-OCE; RFA based on USDA data)
How much energy is used making ethanol?
Ethanol offers a positive energy balance. That means energy output is greater than the fossil energy used to produce the product. In the past 20 years, the amount of energy used to produce ethanol has decreased, and that includes the amount used by farmers who grow the corn. Higher-yielding seed combined with fewer trips across the cornfield, due to refined agronomic practices, mean less fuel used. Studies that claim it takes more energy to produce ethanol than it delivers overlook the energy contained in ethanol co-products.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, research shows that 1 unit of energy invested in the corn ethanol production process results in the production of 2.3 units of usable energy in the form of ethanol. That number improves all the time as ethanol plants seek more efficient processes.
Here’s a resource for understanding ethanol’s place in the future of energy use: ethanol.org/ethanol-essentials/smart-phone-and-ethanol.
How much ethanol is in gasoline and will it hurt my engine?
Today there are E85 dispensing locations in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Although E85 locations were originally concentrated near the source of supply–primarily in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa–today over half are found outside the Midwest. California, New York, Colorado, Georgia, and Texas account for the increased E85 adoption. One reason to use E85 in your flex-fuel vehicle: it costs less!
The city of Chicago understands the value of ethanol and E85. chicagocleancities.org/success-stories/e85
If you’re looking for an E85 station near you or along the road as you travel, add this handy tool to your smartphone. ethanolretailer.com/flex-fuel-station-finder.
*Ethanol reduced carbon dioxide emissions by an average 34% when compared with gasoline, according to the U.S. Department of Energy GREET model and allowing for hypothetical land use emissions. Without direct emissions, average corn ethanol decreases greenhouse gas by 44%.