Iowa High School Student Earns Trip to White House for Ethanol Science Project

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South O’Brien High School Senior Eric Koehlmoos. Photo Credit: Tim Gallagher, Sioux City Journal

South O’Brien High School Senior Eric Koehlmoos was recently invited to travel from Iowa to Washington, D.C. to present the findings of his research on ethanol at the White House.

Koehlmoos will present his award winning Future Farmers of America (FFA) project as part of theWhite House Science Fair. The future Kansas State University student studied how a limestone pretreatment regimen on switchgrass and prairie cord grass can boost ethanol production while, at the same time, boosting protein value in distiller’s grains, the livestock feed byproduct of ethanol production.

Koehlmoos gives a lot of credit to the employees atLittle Sioux Corn Processors, a nearby ethanol plant in Marcus, Iowa, for helping him with enzymes and analysis.

“I grind up the grass, add enzymes and water, then heat and ferment it for three days,” Koehlmoos said. “Then I distill it and hope I have a pure ethanol sample to be analyzed at Little Sioux Corn Processors.”

Koehlmoos added, “I’ve been to Washington twice, but this will be my first visit to the White House. This is a pretty neat honor.”

To read the entire Sioux City Journal story, please click here.

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