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Ethanol 101 returns

The Fuel Ethanol Workshop is bringing back Ethanol Industry 101, a one-day, preconference seminar covering the history, the process, the economics and politics of ethanol.
By Susanne Retka Schill | April 16, 2012

Are you relatively new to the ethanol industry and find you have gaps in your knowledge? Do you have new employees who would benefit from a better understanding of the ethanol industry and an opportunity to network? The International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo is bringing back Ethanol Industry 101, a one-day, preconference seminar covering the history, the process, the economics and politics of ethanol.

The Monday, June 4, one-day seminar is based on a preconference event that was very popular in the heyday of the ethanol build out, when economic development teams from across the Midwest attended to learn the basics and make important contacts. While the building boom of the corn ethanol industry is now part of history, there are new people –on the plant level and among service providers of all types – who could benefit from an in-depth overview of the ethanol industry.

There’s much to learn. This is an age-old process, but what’s different about a modern commercial-sized fuel ethanol plant? Is it the same yeast? Why are enzymes used? What are the steps of the process? Just how efficient is it? What are the key components in ethanol economics? What does it take to be a successful ethanol producer?

And then, there’s the history -- from Henry Ford using alcohol for his first horseless carriage to the days of gasohol and other key steps leading to today’s ethanol industry.

Ethanol Industry 101 is being held on Monday, June 4, starting at 8:30 and ending in time for the opening reception of the Fuel Ethanol Workshop at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

I plan to be there. I’ve been writing about ethanol now for five years, and every time I talk to industry experts, I realize that I have many gaps in my knowledge. I look forward to learning from the impressive list of industry veterans who’ve agreed to speak (and hoping they share a few of the many stories I’m sure they can tell.) It will also be an opportunity to ask questions.