Nashville, TN has a lot to be proud of. “Music City” is the beating heart of country music, home of the Grand Ole Opry and rich in American history and world culture. And after June 16, Nashville can also proudly boast that it hosted the 24th annual International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo (FEW), the largest ethanol conference and expo in the world.
The 2008 FEW will be bigger than ever, with an expected attendance of 6,000 — roughly 700 more than last year, and over 600 exhibitors. Dave Blazer, FEW marketing manager, said they’ve expanded their exhibitor list by about 100 since last year. The 2008 FEW is dedicated to “linking industry and innovation” through 23 technical workshops, a general session with international industry updates, a world-class trade show, and special events that will provide numerous networking and business development opportunities.
Education to Improve Efficiencies
Due to the controversial food vs. fuel debate, the ethanol industry has been put under a microscope and scrutinized by critics worldwide. One goal Blazer hopes to accomplish with the 2008 FEW is to restore faith that the ethanol industry has created a sustainable and commercially viable long-term solution for energy security.
“I hope the attendees will walk away from this FEW and realize they’re doing the right thing, and are continuing to make a powerful impact in the global energy industry,” Blazer says. FEW program coordinator Travis Hochard and the FEW steering committee worked to formulate educational sessions that will equip attendees with the knowledge they need to address the concerns critics have been dishing out over the past year.
Hochard encourages all registrants to attend the FEW’s pre-conference seminar, Ethanol 101: First and Second Generation Ethanol Production. “We’re looking forward to our preconference seminar covering first and second generation ethanol production, plant improvement options, and an exploration of how to manage a sustainable ethanol plant. This will help producers understand how to optimize resources and improve efficiencies.”
The information-jam-packed Ethanol 101 preconference seminar will present an overview of a number of hot topics including cellulosic ethanol production, ethanol economics, land use and future technologies.
After Ethanol 101 lays the foundation, the 23 technical workshops will provide more detail on these same issues and more. “The main program will expand upon E101 and feature panels and discussions on everything from training the biofuels workforce and plant management to cellulose biorefining and alternative feedstocks” says Hochard. “Although the program was created for the ethanol producer, it can still offer plenty of value to anyone doing business in the industry.”
Technological Advances Key to Industry Growth
The 2008 FEW will feature multiple sessions within the concurrent workshops covering the newest cellulosic ethanol production technologies and trends. Registrants can attend Workshop 1: Cellulose Technology Update on the second day of the FEW. Attendees can look forward to learning about state-of-the-art cellulosic ethanol technologies, participate in a cellulosic ethanol case study, hear about the economic viability of converting cellulose to ethanol and examine how one company in Denmark is making cellulosic ethanol work for them.
Global Cooperation is Essential
Showcasing the success of foreign companies is major component of FEW’s mission to link industry and innovation. Blazer explains, “I think part of the solution is to unite the ethanol industry on a global level. America is only one part of the equation in this industry becoming more sustainable.”
In an effort to start the ball rolling on this visionary “global ethanol community,” the FEW is hosting an International Networking Pavilion, sponsored by the Global Biomass Network. The purpose of the Networking Pavilion is not only to mingle with international registrants, but to also provide a rare opportunity for information exchanging in a personal way.