Transporting Corn Ethanol to Your Gas Tank: No Walk in the Park

Michael Milli

Transporting ethanol is risky business

This is the fifth blogpost in the series, “Corn-Fed Cars: On the Road with Ethanol.”

Discussions about the environmental impacts of corn ethanol often come around to the inputs and outputs associated with growing the corn and processing it into a fuel.  In fact, in this series’ third post, “Does Ethanol Pollute the Environment… Or Does Corn?,” we tackled this topic.

Understanding the environmental impact of growing the corn and producing the ethanol fuel is obviously very important—but it is not the only critical piece of an exceedingly complex puzzle.  Another important component of the ethanol supply chain is the so-called distribution infrastructure.  In other words: What happens after the corn is grown, transported to the production facility and processed into ethanol? How does it get from the plant to your gas tank, and what are the possible environmental and health concerns along the way? Read More >

The Genesis of Corn-Fed Cars

Iowa Corn Indy 250

Also contributing to this story is Dennis Keeney, PhD, MS. | Over the next six months, this bimonthly blog series, “Corn-Fed Cars: On the Road with Ethanol,” will initiate a conversation about ethanol and the current environmental and economic impacts of its use.  This first post addresses the progression of ethanol use in the U.S., and the forces that have gotten us to where we are today.

This June at the “Iowa Corn Indy 250,” flags touting “Iowa Corn” and t-shirts promoting “Corn Power” were a common sight at the Newton, Iowa racetrack. The slogans are no surprise, given two facts: first, that the race is sponsored by the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, and second, fellow racing giant NASCAR’s  announcement last year that they will partner with American ethanol producers to fuel its fleet with a gasoline blend containing 15 percent corn ethanol.

At a time when the buzz about corn ethanol seems to have died down on the coasts, its advocates are speaking up, and production in the Midwest continues to ramp up to record levels in light of government subsidies and mandates that spurred the growth of the industry over the last decade. Today, 40 percent of the corn crop in the U.S. goes to ethanol production. Read More >