Submitted to: International Sugar Journal
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2002
Publication Date: April 15, 2002
Citation: DIEN, B.S., BOTHAST, R.J., NICHOLS, N.N., COTTA, M.A. THE U.S. CORN ETHANOL INDUSTRY: AN OVERVIEW OF CURRENT TECHNOLOGY AND FUTURE PROSPECTS. INTERNATIONAL SUGAR JOURNAL. 2002. V. 104. P. 204-211. Technical Abstract: Last year, 1.77 billion gallons of fuel ethanol were produced in the U.S., over 90% of which was produced from corn. Ethanol demand is expected to more than double in the next several years as it is used to replace the fuel oxygenate, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE). Corn is prepared for ethanol fermentation by either wet milling or dry grinding. Most newly constructed ethanol plants use dry grinding because of its lower capital costs. However, corn wet millers have also expanded production by adding on to existing plants. Current technology allows for 2.5 (wet milled) to 2.7 (dry grind) gal of ethanol per bushel of corn. An opportunity exists for increasing this yield by also converting the fibrous components of the corn kernel (i.e., pericarp and germ) to ethanol. Fermenting these non-starch fractions could increase the yield from a bushel of corn by a maximum of 10%. In this brief review, the economic and technical aspects of ethanol production will be explored as well as future prospects for increasing ethanol yield from corn by fermenting the non-starch fractions.