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Platts Cellulosic Ethanol Conference, Worth the Investment

If you’ve never attended a Platts conference before, I’d like to draw your attention to its fourth annual Cellulosic Ethanol and Second Generation Biofuels Conference, being held Oct. 22-23 in Chicago.

Part of the McGraw Hill Companies, Platts is an information provider about the energy industry, and publishes price assessments in the physical energy markets. Platts also knows how to put on a top-notch conference. The information I’ve taken away from these meetings has been invaluable because the speakers are in the “thick of it” and really know that of which they speak!

If you are interested in producing feedstocks for cellulosic ethanol in the future, you might want to invest in this conference. One of the sessions will address the availability, cost and logistical challenges of biomass feedstocks, and it boasts some heavy industry hitters, including Bill Lee, CEO, Front Line BioEnergy; Doug Berven, v.p., POET; Spencer Swayze, mgr., business development, Ceres, Inc.; Bob Matousek, mgr., development and research engineering, AGCO Corp.; and Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest.

For more information, visit

AgMRC Renewable Energy Newsletter

And here’s a good resource for corn-based ethanol producers, the AgMRC Renewable Energy Newsletter. Visit for more information. In this month’s issue, Don Hofstrand, co-director, Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, addresses the issue over greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of corn ethanol production.

Interestingly, he points out that crop production accounts for half of the total emissions from ethanol production. One-half of these emissions are in the form of nitrous oxide, which is produced naturally in soils through nitrification and de-nitrification. Ethanol biorefineries account for the other half of emissions, and natural gas used to run these plants contributes about two-thirds of these emissions. However, the distillers grain co-product provides a 29% greenhouse gas emission credit.

Hofstrand also notes that the net emissions from corn ethanol production are 42 units of emissions per unit of energy produced, compared to 92 units for gasoline. This represents a 54% reduction in GHG emissions compared to gas.

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