The improving “carbon footprint” of ethanol production and the ability of biofuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions were key topics discussed at last week’s 23rd International Fuel Ethanol Workshop in St. Louis.
“The record attendance at this year’s conference was proof that ethanol has definitely gone mainstream,” says Bruce Noel, chairman of , according to the National Corn Growers Association’s Ethanol Committee. “I also was impressed with the fact that this industry is serious about maximizing its efficiency, decreasing its energy consumption, and having the greatest impact possible on mitigating climate change.”
Noel attended the meeting, as did Gerald Tumbleson, NCGA chairman. He addressed several thousand attendees during the conference’s opening general session, emphasized the environmental benefits that come from simply converting solar energy into liquid transportation fuels via photosynthesis and fermentation. He also spoke about the significant impact ethanol has had on rural economic development and the agricultural economy.
In keeping with the theme on environmental issues, technical sessions focused on carbon-credit trading, emissions and environmental controls and combined heat and power technologies.
New developments in ethanol processing technologies also were highlighted at the event. The U.S. Department of Energy moderated an update on the projects that were awarded cellulosic ethanol biorefinery commercial demonstration grants, and several sessions focused on new feedstocks, fractionation, and technologies to improve processing efficiency.
Distillers dried grains with solubles also received increased attention at this year’s workshop, as the ethanol industry increasingly recognizes its role in the feed industry. Key regulatory issues and trade rules related to DDGS were discussed.
Source: National Corn Growers Association