A new Great Plains Institute (GPI) white paper, "Midwestern Ethanol Innovation: Maximizing Process Efficiency and Carbon Reduction," is now available. The paper provides a framework for improving the efficiency and environmental performance of corn ethanol production.
"Our report will benefit both producers and those who want to learn more about corn ethanol production by providing an overview of efficiency opportunities at each stage of the production process and a menu of innovative practices that ethanol plants should consider in reducing energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions," says Amanda Bilek, Great Pains Institute Energy Policy Specialist and one of the paper's authors.
Bilek noted that the information for the report was gathered through GPI's work with the MGA Advanced Transportation Fuels Advisory Group.
In addition to a menu of innovative options, the paper cites examples of existing plants that have implemented each efficiency practice or technology.
"Several corn ethanol producers have made significant strides in improving the efficiency of corn ethanol production," says Dane McFarlane, Energy Policy Analyst and co-author. "Despite this, there are many remaining ethanol plants that have the potential to significantly improve their efficiency."
This report reminds policymakers and the general public that improvements in existing biofuel production can be just as important as bringing commercial-scale advanced biofuels to market.
"While policymakers have been focused on cellulosic and advanced biofuels, we also need to design policies to get the most out of the fuels we already have," said Brendan Jordan, Director of Bioenergy and Transportation at GPI.
The white paper summarizes the efficiency options available to ethanol plants. GPI recommends as a next step a cost and benefit analysis of these innovations to help ethanol producers establish best practices. GPI also recommends that policymakers develop programs to encourage investments in improving the efficiency of existing corn ethanol production.
The full report is available on the GPI website.