This essay is about corn ethanol, its pollution, and its pros/cons. The purpose of this piece is to show the pros and cons of corn ethanol and it is also about how corn ethanol makes an effect on the worlds carbon footprint through your very own. I am proud of being allowed to continue off of a previous action problem. I am proud of this because it has allowed me to voice my own opinions on this topic. What I learned from this project was a lot more information on corn ethanol and the chemical reaction on how corn ethanol is burned. I hope you chose to continue reading because this project was really fun and awesome to complete.

What Are The Pros/Cons of Corn Ethanol?

     In my paper, I will be talking about my chosen form of energy, and the pros and cons of it. My chosen energy was Corn Ethanol and the only pollutant that comes out of Corn Ethanol is carbon dioxide. Even though this form of energy pollutes with carbon dioxide, it is still a good form of energy because it contributes to the carbon footprint while minimizing it during the production of Corn Ethanol. Carbon dioxide is the name of the pollutant and a popular name that it fits under is it is a greenhouse gas. Atoms that make up carbon dioxide are one carbon atom and 2 oxygen atoms. Can be found in the air around us, in the Ozone layer, in leaves of plants during photosynthesis.

C2H6O + 3O2 –> 2CO2 + 3H2O

Chemical Reaction for Burning Corn Ethanol

I was looking at one of the sources on the internet and I realized that in the second part of this equation, the 2CO2 only read CO2 which didn’t equal the amount of carbon or oxygen on the other side so I added a second molecule to the end of the equation therefore balancing the equation.

     As modern day humans, we use gas, oil, electricity, propane, and sometimes wood to power our homes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using these kinds of energy make my carbon footprint become 7,698 lbs of CO2 a year. Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon we emit into the atmosphere by your way of living.

    My chosen energy is Corn Ethanol and it’s pollution is carbon dioxide. This form of energy and its pollution do have a corresponding effect on my carbon footprint because when you burn corn ethanol, it emits carbon dioxide which increases a carbon footprint. But during the production of corn ethanol, the corn absorbs carbon dioxide to create starches during photosynthesis.This has a positive effect on the carbon footprint because it decreases it more than it increases it.

     I have calculated my own carbon footprint with the EPA Calculator. In order to calculate your carbon footprint, you have to enter in facts about your daily lifestyle and as you continue to enter in information, it calculates how many pounds of carbon you produce a year. For example, first I entered in all of my vehicle information which is amount of cars you own, how many miles you drive a week and the miles per gallon (mpg) your car gets and depending on all of that it calculates the first amount of carbon you produce in a year which is for me 10,005 lbs of carbon. Now, remember thats only a part of my total carbon footprint so there is a lot more but lets not get into that.

     The pros of my fuel which is corn ethanol is that, it is a renewable fuel. This fuel only takes at least 6 months to grow (as in corn). Another great thing about my fuel is that it does not require a special vehicle to use the fuel. It reduces the amount of toxic air pollutants because it emits about 10% to 30% less than the usual unleaded gasoline. Its good because it is relatively low cost to process rather than gasoline and other petroleum based fuels. It also helps support rural economies. (Info from –> Pros and Cons of Ethanol Biofuel, Frazier Karen)
The cons of this fuel are that, while the growing of corn gets rid of a lot of carbon dioxide, the burning of corn ethanol and production of it cancel it out 100%. Another con is that it takes a lot of land and a lot of the crop itself to create the ethanol in mass productions resulting in mass wildlife destruction and the loss of valuable food sources. (Info from –> Pros and Cons of Ethanol Biofuel, Frazier Karen)
     By the end of this paper, my opinion on the biofuel corn ethanol is that it is a great resource compared to the current resources we use now. I feel that it is a good resource because the production of it completely eliminates the amount of carbon dioxide you create by burning the fuel and the little during the production of it. I feel that balancing the amount of Carbon dioxide and oxygen you produce is a lot better than just creating a huge amount of carbon dioxide like the whole production and burning of Gasoline. My conclusion is that Corn ethanol is definitely a great resource for energy.

  • Frazier, Karen. “Pros and Cons of Ethanol Biofuel.” LoveToKnow. Love ToKnow, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
  • AFDC. “Ethanol Fuel Basics.” Alternative Fuels Data Center:. U.S. Department Of Energy, 6 Mar. 2013. Web. 07 Mar. 2013.