Ethanol expo brings industry leaders together to talk future - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Ethanol expo brings industry leaders together to talk future

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MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (KTTC)- The largest gathering of ethanol experts in the world came together in Minneapolis to talk shop and to discuss business over the past year. One of the big topics is where the industry is heading as demand for renewable energies grows.

One step into the Minnesota Convention Center and you could feel the excitement as hundreds of businesses converged to talk and discuss what they love the most: ethanol.

The future is now when it comes to ethanol.

"You know, when we started we just wanted to get a local market for our corn production and see if we couldn't narrow the basis a little bit," explains Walter Wendland, the President of Golden Grain Energy out of Mason City, Iowa. "We had no idea that we'd have such an impact, a positive impact, on agriculture."

The 28th annual Fuel and Ethanol Workshop and Expo hits the Twin Cities for the first time since 2001, bringing with it talks of the past, present and future.

"Ethanol has boomed quite dramatically, it's now a part of our driving experience almost every single day," says Mike O'Brien with Growth Energy. "In fact, the official definition of gasoline now includes 10% ethanol."

The ethanol subsidy that had been in existence for 30 years is no more, a fact that industry experts are not fretting over.

"It will make some difference, but by and large the industry is more cost-effective and efficient that we can do without it at this point," explains Jeff Roskam with the Kansas Alliance for Biorefining. "The renewable fuel standard, however, would be much more critical."

Significant discussion was had about where the ethanol industry is heading. As many businesses move toward a biomass fuel product, the entire industry may shift that way as well.

"I think we're going to see changes," says Mike Bryan, the Chairman of BBI International. "We're going to see cellulosic ethanol take on more of a role in future growth. I think we're also going to see a lot of energy technologies such as biomass power and renewable diesel and biodiesel."

All in all, the future is bright for those dealing with ethanol, and those at the expo bask in the potential they are all working toward.

As companies like POET expand into different aspects of ethanol production, it looks like these types of ventures are catching on and expanding industry-wide

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