Taking the Gas Out of Ethanol

Cindy Zimmerman

ISU Research Iowa State University researchers are working to cut the use of natural gas from the production of ethanol, which would make it less expensive to make since natural gas is the second largest expense in the ethanol process behind the corn.

ISU Mechanical Engineering professor Ted Heindel, says they’re working with Frontline BioEnergy of Ames, Iowa to develop “fluidized bed gassifiers” that are used to gasify biomaterial into a gas that can be burned in the place of natural gas.

Common waste materials like corn stalks, corn stover, distillers dried grains or switchgrass could be turned into burnable gas.

Pictured is Ted Heindel with ISU’s X-ray flow visualization facility that will be used to observe and measure the action inside a fluidized bed where biomass can be converted into flammable gases. Photo by Bob Elbert

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Ethanol, Production, Research