Green gas includes the combination and use of ethanol for vehicles. There are many benefits to using ethanol instead of traditional fossil fuels. Ethanol burns extremely clean due to its high oxygen content and it can easily be added in small amounts to car fuel, reducing greenhouse emissions. Argonne National Laboratory reports an approximate 10-ton decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions resulting from the use of ethanol fuel in 2007 alone. A 2006 study in Wisconsin showed 16 percent fewer high-ozone days since the 1994 introduction of 10-90 fuel.
Most cars today can run on a 10-90 ethanol-gas mix. Flexible fuel cars can run on a 15-85 mix which runs extraordinarily cleanly and further reduces the emission of harmful pollution. Unfortunately, only one in 40 cars can run on this mix.
Mixed with other green and low pollution efforts, ethanol can be extraordinarily beneficial to the environment. To understand why we should use green gas, we must first understand what green gas is. In reality, “green gas” is ethanol, which is a grain alcohol. When it is produced in the United States, it is most often made from corn. In other places, other plentiful crops such as wheat, barley and potatoes are used. There are many ways to make fuel-grade ethanol, the most popular and common of which is the dry-mill method.
- The corn (or other grain) passes through a grinding meal, exiting as a powder.
- A mixture made of this grain powder, water and an enzyme enters a high-heat cooker where it's liquefied. The enzyme helps to break down the grain compound to aid in the liquefaction process.
- The liquefied mash is cooled and another enzyme is added to the mix. This enzyme converts the starch into sugars that can be fermented to create alcohol.
- Yeast is added to the sugar mixture to begin the fermentation process. The sugars break down to ethanol (a form of alcohol) and carbon dioxide.
- The fermented mixture is distilled where the ethanol is separated from the solids.
- A dehydration process removes water from the separated ethanol.
- A small amount of gasoline is added to the ethanol in order to make it undrinkable. All ethanol used as a fuel must be made inedible before being distributed.
Any excess crops can be used to create ethanol and green gas. While we cannot grow all of our grains for the sole purpose of creating ethanol, since these grains are staples in many diets, we can benefit greatly from the amount we can convert to green gas. EnviroCitizen.org recognizes the huge environmental benefits we experience through the use of green gas and hopes that we can continue to develop and refine alternative, eco-friendly fuel options.