NC506: Sustainable Biorefining Systems for Corn in the North Central Region
Statement of Issues and JustificationWith the rapid rise in petroleum prices, and the associated rise in gasoline prices, production of alternative fuels including ethanol from corn and other feedstocks has received renewed interest. In the North Central Region this is manifest by the design, construction and operation of numerous new ethanol production plants. In July 2006, the North Central Regional Association of State Agriculture Experiment Stations Directors commissioned a development committee, NCDC 209, to consider the establishment of a standing NC committee to generate a proposal/project with the objective of conducting research and analysis of the impact of this rapid transformation to ethanol production.
The NCDC 209 Committee recommended a program of research, education, and extension/outreach focused on sustainable biorefining systems for corn in the North Central Region. The committee considered this an excellent starting point because the technical and logistical aspects of corn ethanol refining are the most developed, yet there are serious concerns that these systems are not a sustainable use of resources (CAST, 2006). If that is the case, then corn ethanol refining as a preliminary process and product will inevitably require transition to more sustainable feedstocks, processing, and products in the future. The biorefining process for corn in the Midwest could serve as a model for in-depth analysis of other feedstocks and regional settings.
Back to Top