How to Make Ethanol - Discover the Basics of Making Ethanol

By: Bob Walker

For centuries there have been people who made ethyl alcohol, or ethanol. Now a lot of people are wanting to learn how to make ethanol. But for years it wasn't called ethanol. Many people know of it as moonshine. Moonshine is the stuff that people think of being made in a still nestled deep in the Appalachian Mountains by a man missing a few teeth. But if people knew that the same steps that are needed for creating moonshine are the ones that are used to make ethanol, they would be surprised. So with the constant rise in gasoline prices many people are wanting to learn how to make ethanol.

There are a couple of ways that are used to make ethanol. There is both wet and dry milling. These are two very different ways that are used with the making of ethanol. Wet milling only accounts for about eighteen percent of all ethanol production whereas dry milling is the most commonly used at eighty two percent of production. These are some things that you will need to know when you learn how to make ethanol.

Dry milling works by crushing the entire corn kernel into corn meal, or corn flour to some. The ground meal is then processed without ever separating the different components of the grain. That ground up meal is then mixed with water to make something that looks like cornmeal mash. Cornmeal mash is a little different than the look of uncooked cornbread but they're pretty close. In order to convert the starch to dextrose form, there are enzymes that are needed to be added. Dextrose is a type of simple sugar that will be needed later on for the yeast to feed from. Ammonia is one ingredient that will be added both for pH control and also as an added nutrient to the yeast.

This pretty mash that was created will then be moved on into a high temperature cooker that is used for its ability to reduce the bacteria levels before the fermentation process. After the mash is done it will be cooled and directed to the fermenters where the yeast is then added. When the yeast is placed into the cooling mash, the conversion of sugar to carbon dioxide and ethanol will begin. This is where the money making process takes place and is important to remember when learning how to make ethanol.

It can take up to forty or fifty hours for the fermentation process to be completed. When in the fermenters, the mash will be turned and agitated and also be kept cool so that it can facilitate what needs to take place with the yeast. Once the fermentation has taken place it will result in an alcoholic liquid very similar to beer. To separate the ethanol from the other corn mash brew, it will be transferred to distillation columns. Using conventional distillation, the ethanol will be concentrated down to 190 proof and then inside of a molecular sieve system, will be dehydrated to around 200 proof. That would be some really strong moonshine if it were made in the hills. Talk about white lightening.

At this point this liquid would be considered drinkable if you could handle it. To render the ethanol undrinkable, the anhydrous ethanol will be blended with approximately five percent of natural gasoline or other type of denaturant. By this happening the substance will now not have to worry about paying any alcohol beverage taxes. Not a bad thing to make note of when you learn how to make ethanol.

Now that all that has taken place the resulting ethanol can be shipped to various gasoline terminals and other retailers. Ethanol is something that has been around for centuries with us finally realizing how to tap into its vast abilities.

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