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Higher value product from corn ethanol

Read the report: Higher value product from corn ethanol

About this report:

This project researched the chemical conversion of bioethanol to produce a more valuable commodity chemical, ethylene carbonate, and determine if this conversion is viable on an industrial scale.  Ethylene carbonate is used as a solvent, as an electrolyte in advanced batteries, and the demand for this chemical has been increasing steadily over the last decade.


The research project showed the feasibility of converting ethylene oxide to ethylene carbonate, cleanly and in high yield. The major issues relevant to corn ethanol are the reactions converting ethanol to ethylene and ethylene oxide.  Additional research is needed to be determined how the reactions can best be linked in a single industrial process.

Project Outcomes:

The following experimental tasks were accomplished:

  • Clean and efficient synthesis of ethylene carbonate from ethylene oxide.
  • Desired reaction occurring in high yield.
  • Step from ethanol to ethylene.
  • Step from ethylene to ethylene oxide.


Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council


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