Scientists: We Can Make Ethanol Without Corn
New process should be significantly more efficient, too
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Apr 10, 2014 7:15 AM CDT
Updated Apr 13, 2014 7:00 PM CDT
In this July 20, 2013 file photo, a plant that produces ethanol is next to a cornfield near Coon Rapids, Iowa.    (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

(Newser) – Could ethanol someday essentially be produced out of thin air? A group of scientists has published research in Nature detailing a new method of making ethanol out of carbon monoxide gas, instead of corn or sugarcane, Reuters reports. Researchers saturated water with the gas, then zapped it with a novel device featuring two electrodes, one made of what they're calling "oxide-derived copper," to convert it into fuel. "I emphasize that these are just laboratory experiments today," lead researcher Matthew Kanan says. He expects to have a prototype device ready in two to three years.

The environmental implications are profound. Critics of ethanol say it drives up food prices and consumes loads of land and water. It can take more than 800 gallons of water to grow enough corn to make 3 gallons of ethanol, Phys.org points out. What's more, researchers envision a two-step process in which the carbon monoxide is derived from carbon dioxide in the air, providing an "economic incentive" for scrubbing carbon from the atmosphere, the MIT Technology Review reports. The new process could also work on a far smaller scale than biomass methods; the Review envisions rooftop solar panels generating fuel that's kept in water heater-sized tanks. (More on the toll ethanol takes on the environment here.)

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Ezekiel 25:17
Apr 24, 2014 8:33 PM CDT
Coors is a huge producer of ethanol and they don't use corn. They use the same ingredients used in making beer. They do use the hop and barley waste to brew up more than 3 million gallons alone. They also have to siphon off ethanol to make beer either 6 point or 3 point to fit the state in which its being sent. That's a lot of ethanol right there. Then Coors has built ethanol plants in Golden, Co just to produce ethanol and no beer at all. So, the answer is yes, you can make it from any starch.
Infidel123
Apr 14, 2014 6:37 AM CDT
Ethanol from corn is what you get from idiotic politicians and a gullible public. Sort of like the man made Global warming scam.
orlandojon
Apr 14, 2014 5:33 AM CDT
Public: We don't need ethanol