‘Where Producers Meet’

Industry representatives from 26 countries met in St. Louis, June 10-13, for the world’s largest and longest- running ethanol conference.
By Holly Jessen | June 26, 2013

The 29th Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including ethanol producers representing 146 U.S. ethanol plants and nine Canadian plants as well as producers from four other countries. 

Jeff Broin, founder and chairman of the board for Poet LLC, kicked off the event June 10, at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Broin talked about past and present struggles facing the ethanol industry, including attacks on the renewable fuel standard and breaking past the blend wall. “Don’t kid yourself, we’re at war,” he said. “We’re at war for billions of dollars of revenue that others do not want to give up.” 

The general session, held June 11, was packed for a mid-year policy update and updates from the cellulosic ethanol world. First, the top executives of the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy and the American Coalition for Ethanol gathered to address fighting to preserve the RFS, E15 and higher blends and other important topics. That was followed by reports from DONG Energy Power, INEOS Bio, DuPont Industrial Biosciences, Abengoa Bioenergy and Poet, some of the global pioneers in reaching for commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production. 

The agenda also included concurrent breakout sessions covering production and operations, leadership and financial management, coproducts and product diversification, and cellulosic and advanced ethanol. In all, about 120 speakers and moderators participated. 

Awards were also presented to a USDA researcher and an advocate for ethanol as a race fuel. Kevin Hicks, research leader for the Sustainable Biofuels and Coproducts Research Unit of the USDA’s Eastern Regional Research Center, received the Award of Excellence, while ICM Inc. employee Dan Schwartzkopf was presented with the High Octane Award.   

This year, for the first time, industry tours were held on two days. The Monsanto Chesterfield Campus and Bunge-SCF Grain Elevator hosted a bus full of FEW attendees on June 10. The second tour, on June 13, was of the National Corn-to-Ethanol Center, which is celebrating 10 years of operation. In addition, tour-goers also stopped at the Melvin Price Lock and Dam, near East Alton, Ill., on both days.  

The 2014 FEW is set for June 9-12 in Indianapolis, Ind. It will be the 30th anniversary of the event. 

Author: Holly Jessen
Managing Editor, Ethanol Producer Magazine