Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Some ethanol stuff I didn't know

I should have been able to guess this, but never thought about it. Ethanol production doesn't "use up" corn, it just diverts the starch portion. The protein portion goes back to market as feed. (Or could be burned to make the plant self-sustaining.)

I wonder what would happen to our energy needs if we were able to divert a lot of our bio-waste to ethanol production? Or biobutanol?
Both the dry-milling and wet-milling methods of producing ethanol generate a variety of economically valuable co-products, the most prominent of which is perhaps distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), which can be used as a feed ingredient for livestock. Each 56-pound bushel of corn used in dry mill ethanol production generates about 17.4 pounds of DDGS.

I won't pretend to know what the value of a pound of this high protein feed is worth versus a pound of corn as feed for livestock. I would guess that it's more valuable for at least some livestock products, since there is a market for leaner pork and grass-fed beef. (Corn fed beef is fattier and tastier to some, grass-fed beef is leaner and tastier to others. I would guess that the DDGS fed beef would be leaner and lack the "gamey" grass-fed flavor. But I have no idea.)


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