For the past year and a half, scientists at Iowa State University have been testing ways to purify ethanol and incorporate it into foods, beverages and toiletries. In the past, ethanol has only been used as an additive to gasoline. However, Iowa State University assistant professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering Jack Koziel has found a new use. “The current technology is distillation which requires more energy and is more expensive,” he said. When ozone gas and granular activated carbons are mixed to further dilute and distill ethanol, it becomes edible. If successful, food-grade ethanol may soon be found in not only alcohol, but also mouthwashes, lotions, over-the-counter drugs, and other common pharmaceuticals. When the impurities in ethanol chemically react with ozone, they are depleted and the alcohol changes its smell and taste. Koziel and his team of researchers are carrying out tests to reduce the cost of this ozonation process to as low as a penny per gallon, as opposed to the current 50 cent per gallon price. So what’s the advantage? “If this technology is viable, then the fuel grade Ethanol plants will be refined for a fraction of the cost of food grade ethanol,” Koziel said. This could cause Iowa’s economy to prosper and increase fuel efficiency.