RFA: New video spotlights ethanol’s important coproducts

By Renewable Fuels Association | July 02, 2020

A new video from the Renewable Fuels Association and Kansas Corn provides a clear introduction to other important products that come from ethanol production, primarily distillers grains used in livestock production, distillers oil used to make biodiesel, and captured carbon dioxide for the food and beverage industries.

With fuel ethanol demand experiencing a significant reduction during the COVID-19 pandemic, which kept many people at home and off the roads, numerous news stories arose over the hit these other products were taking as well.  The need to educate consumers and others about ethanol co-products led to this video project, so the public and policymakers alike would understand how the ethanol industry makes more than ethanol and serves so many markets.

“At one point in late April, more than half of U.S ethanol production capacity was idled,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “The reduction in fuel demand had a ripple effect – not only did we see a collapse in fuel ethanol production, but we saw less feed for livestock, less distillers oil for biodiesel, and less captured CO2 for food production and the many other sectors that rely on it. Our nation’s ethanol producers work hard to provide a number of important products that keep Americans moving and fed. Decisions made about one product will influence others, and it’s important for people to understand how this interplay works and helps the rural economy.”

Kansas Corn Commission Director of Education Sharon Thielen, Ph.D., said the video will benefit the Kansas Corn STEM program that supports STEM learning by providing K-12 teachers with lessons and materials to teach science with topics like growing corn, ethanol production, biotechnology benefits, and water and soil conservation.

“We supported the production of this video to help us expand our ethanol teaching materials,” Thielen said. “By illustrating how the corn kernel is used to make not only ethanol but many important co-products, this video will be a valuable piece for the ethanol lessons that we offer through our Kansas Corn STEM program.”

At just under five minutes, the video is ideal community meetings and briefings with policymakers, as well as to supplement education curricula, such as the Kansas program mentioned above and RFA’s Ethanol in the Classroom program.