WisBusiness: Big ethanol conference runs this week in Milwaukee

By Gregg Hoffmann

MILWAUKEE – More than 2,200 ethanol producers and users will converge on the Midwest Airlines Center this week for 22nd Annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo.

“Linking Industry and Innovation” will be the theme of the event, which is sponsored by a partnership of organizations involved in the growing ethanol industry.

The program presentations will have a strong focus on commercial-scale ethanol production, new technology, plus near-term research and development on topics including: Biorefining Concepts, Distillers Dried Grains, Emissions and Environmental Controls, Energy Resources and Integration, International Issues and Updates, Plant Management and Operations, Quality Control, Risk Management and other pertinent topics.

The fact the conference is being held in Milwaukee signals that Wisconsin, which has lagged behind surrounding states in ethanol development, has gotten serious about the alternative fuel.

Gov. Jim Doyle will kick off the regular schedule of the conference on Wednesday morning. Doyle has been an advocate for ethanol, and at this time about a half dozen plants are in various stages of development.

Doyle’s address will be followed by an overview of the ethanol industry world wide. Ethanol production has particularly been strong in areas of South America and Australia in recent years.

On Tuesday, before the regular FEW event starts, a pre-workshop seminar
“Ethanol 101: Points to Consider When Building an Ethanol Plant” will be held. This annual special seminar is intended for individuals looking to build an ethanol plant.

Breakout sessions on specific topics of interest to ethanol industry representatives will follow Doyle’s speech and the general overview session on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Friday, a tour will be held of The United Wisconsin Grain Producers (UWGP) in Friesland. UWGP is a new, state-of-the-art, 40-million-gallon per year dry-mill ethanol plant. That tour already has been sold out.