FEW under way, best attendance in recent years

By Susanne Retka Schill | June 04, 2012

There was an upbeat atmosphere at the opening event of the 28th Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo Monday evening, June 4, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. At 2,200 registrations, the attendance is one of the best in recent years, according to a representative from conference organizer BBI International. Over 90 percent of U.S. ethanol producers are represented among the attendees, along with producers from as far away as China and Argentina.

Tuesday’s sessions begin with a welcome and award presentations, followed by a keynote presentation by Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. A panel of ethanol producers will follow the keynote, talking about the challenge of remaining profitable after the loss of the blenders credit. The panel includes Mark Marquis, president and general manager of Marquis Energy Inc., Ray Defenbaugh, president and CEO of Big River resources, Randy Doyal CEO of Al-Corn Clean Fuels and Walt Wendland, president and CEO of Golden Grain Energy.

On Wednesday, Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis will speak briefly and introduce the second day keynote address by Jim Collins, president of DuPont Industrial Sciences.  That will be followed by panel presentation by several companies involved in developing technologies to stage advanced biofuels production at existing corn ethanol plant sites.

In addition to a well-attended golf outing at the Legends club on Monday, 100 attended a preconference seminar aimed at new professionals in the industry. The majority of those attending Ethanol Industry 101 have worked in the industry for less than three years. The sessions included a review of the history of ethanol, an overview of the basic science behind the process, the economics and politics.