Kansas Corn: Ethanol-Corn Mash and Distillation

Seed to STEM
Grade Level: High School

Overview
In this lab, students will learn about ethanol and its important role in our world’s ever-increasing demand for energy. Students will go through the process of fermenting and distilling corn for ethanol production.

There are many variables that can affect ethanol production. This lab may be used as a stand-alone lab, with a prescribed procedure for producing ethanol, or as a follow-up after performing Kansas Corn: Fermenting Fuel – Designing a Procedure for Fast Fermentation. When using this approach to the lab, students use their data to produce their own procedure and compete to see which group can produce the most efficient fermentation. This is determined by comparing the largest volume of flammable alcohol or the most CO2 collected during fermentation.