Introducing ethanol in your classroom
Children are never too young (or old) to learn about renewable fuels made from locally grown plants. Younger children love to learn about the differences in corn and might even like to grow their own. Older children, especially ones excited to learn to drive, need to know about filling up with biofuels to protect the environment and save money. Others might be interested in a career in biofuels. We are happy to provide materials for your classroom, connect you to professionals in the field, or help you develop your lesson plans. Please direct inquiries to our Program Manager at Jessica.Sodeke@nebraska.gov.
An American-made fuel
The field corn grown throughout the United States is used for ethanol, livestock feed and so many other uses.
American-made ethanol supports a wide-range of jobs – from farmers to ethanol biorefinery managers to fuel researchers. Plant-based biofuel is the fastest-growing renewable energy technology, supporting thousands of jobs in the United States.
When we use homegrown, corn ethanol in our fuel supply, it decreases the barrels of oil we import from foreign nations. In 2017, 15.8 billion gallons of ethanol were made in the United States. Greater use of ethanol will increase our energy security while stimulating the US economy.
Ethanol also supports the Nebraska economy, contributing $5 billion each year, due in part to all the co-products also made during the production process. Additionally, ethanol is better for our environment because it replaces toxic, cancer-causing chemicals in gasoline – reducing greenhouse gases by as much as 42%!
Field corn vs. sweet corn
More than 99 percent of the corn grown in the United States is field corn. Field corn is harvested when the kernels are fully matured and dried. Field corn is primary used for livestock feed, ethanol production and other manufactured products. A small portion is processed for use as corn cereal, corn starch, corn oil and corn syrup.
Another type of corn is sweet corn. Sweet corn is enjoyed fresh off the cob, frozen or canned. This type of corn is picked when the kernels are immature, which is why sweet corn is soft and sweet.