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Green Chemistry Project: Ethanol Production From Corn

Ethanol from Corn is in our everyday lives and will continue to impact the future, but how?
by

Lydia Kentowski

on 5 May 2010

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Transcript of Green Chemistry Project: Ethanol Production From Corn

Green Chemistry Project:
Ethanol Production from Corn
How does Ethanol classify as an alternative for gasoline, and how is it better for the environment than gasoline? Is it balanced?
6 CO2 + 6 H2O + light → C6H12O6 + 6 O2
Photosynthesis causes Glucose to be created 6 Carbon atoms, 18 Oxygen atoms, and 12 Hydrogen atoms + light result in 6 Carbon atoms, 12 Hydrogen atoms, and 18 Oxygen atoms....so the equation is balanced. Carbon Dioxide Water Glucose Oxygen The Glucose enters an Ethanol fermentation process
and decomposes into Ethanol and Carbon Dioxide 1. 2. C6H12O6 → 2 C2H5OH+ 2 CO2 + heat Glucose Ethanol Carbon Dioxide Is it balanced? 6 Carbon atoms, 12 Hydrogen atoms, and 6 oxygen atoms result in 6 Carbon atoms, 12 Hydrogen atoms, 6 oxygen atoms, and heat..so yes, the equation is balanced 3. During combustion/ in order to combust, the ethanol reacts with Oxygen to create carbon dioxide, heat, and water C2H5OH + 3 O2 → 2 CO2 + 3 H2O + heat Ethanol oxygen carbon dioxide water Is it balanced? 2 carbon atoms, 6 hydrogen atoms and 7 oxygen atom result in 2 carbon atoms result in 2 carbon atoms, 6 hydrogen atoms, 7 oxygen atoms, and heat...so yes, the equation is balanced Reactants: Carbon Dioxide, Water & Light
Products: Glucose & Oxygen no catalyst Reactant: Glucose
Product: Ethanol, Carbon Dioxide & heat no catalyst Reactants: Ethanol & Oxygen
Products: Carbon Dioxide, Water & Heat no catalyst Why does it matter if the equations are balanced? When the equations are equal, it ensures that the Law of Conservation of Matter is being accounted for, matter cannot be created or destroyed, only transfered or transformed. Real World Application
it takes a lot of water to produce ethanol
bodies of water near corn-only fields have higher level of certain pesticides/substances
when combusted, it does release less carbon dioxide than traditional fuel sorces
provides up to 30-40% less energy than gasoline a plant that produces 100 million gallons a year uses roughly the amount of water that 5,000 people consume Studies show that they contain more nitrogen, phosporus, and fungicides then bodies of water near corn-soybean rotated fields can result in as much as a 20% cut in carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline to make up for loss of power, more needs to be used to achieve base line performance, which means more needs to be produced, which means that more corn is used, which means that there is less to eat Impact on Me:
good idea - does reduce carbon dioxide emissions however, does use a lot of corn, which could possibly leave people hungry...also, it is a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels
more advances should be made to clean up the number of steps it takes to achieve the final product, ethanol
to be able to turn the sugars in corn to fuel is amazing, science of the current era is crazy awesome


What does it all mean? The production of Ethanol is not simple or short and it also needs a natural action to just begin the process. Simply put, the corn makes food for itself (glucose), the glucose is taken and is left to ferment and decompose. The Glucose turns into Ethanol, and from there the Ethanol is ready to be used for fuel.
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