I hope this message finds each and every one of you doing well.
Here is a weekly glimpse of what January 2009 had in store:
January 5 - 9: After a Holiday Break, it was back to work for the NCERC Team. The week was highlighted by the arrival of a class of eight new interns (6 Pilot Plant and 2 Laboratory). The NCERC Internship Program has become widely recognized and respected by members of Academia, Industry, Government and Trade Associations, for its hands-on applied training. Former NCERC interns are gainfully employed across a multitude of disciplines in the biofuels industry. A very special "Thank You" to Western Illinois University and ILDCEO for their sponsorship of a NCERC laboratory internship.
January 12 - 16: The NCERC Workforce Training Program celebrated its two year anniversary this week. The week was highlighted by another installment of the NCERC "Fundamentals of Applied Ethanol Process Operations" training course. While the NCERC Workforce Training Program has exceeded initial expectations, it has now grown extremely difficult to bring in new clients. Perhaps it is a sign of the economic times, but in order to continue this once financially successful program, the NCERC may have to revolutionize the content and focus of the training.
January 19 - 20: In the five year history of the NCERC, no one single day may stand the test of time as that of Thursday January 22, 2009. Why? This is the day the NCERC officially launched its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The TAC is comprised of recognized experts in the fields of Academia, Industry, Government (State and Federal) and Trade Associations. Capital improvement recommendations, made by the TAC, will be presented to the SIUE Administration and subsequently forwarded to the NCERC Business Advisory Board.
January 26 - 30: A wintery week of freezing rain, sleet and snow. St. Louis meteorologists called the storm the largest in more than a decade to hit Southwestern Illinois. That being said, the NCERC is like the U.S. Postal Service; rain, sleet and snow does not stop the NCERC from doing its job. As had been planned for more than two months, the NCERC Pilot Plant was scheduled to run the week of January 26 - 30. Despite the fact that Southern Illinois University Edwardsville had back to back "inclement weather closure days", the NCERC Pilot Plant did run the week of January 26 - 30. I could not be more proud of the dedication of the NCERC Pilot Plant and Laboratory employees, they knew there was a job to do, and despite "inclement weather closure days", they voluntarily came to work and did their job. GREAT JOB!
Brian Wrenn (Research Director) and John Caupert (Director) make a client visit with representatives from ILDCEO, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Illinois River Energy and University of Illinois. The client visit was the culmination of 18 months of collaborative work to develop and validate a NIR calibration method.
The highlight of February is certain to be the Renewable Fuels Association - National Ethanol Conference. This year's conference will be held in San Antonio, TX. Having lived in South Texas for a number of years, it will be a personal joy to get back to San Antonio. The personal enjoyment will be exceeded by the professional opportunity to network with friends and peers in the ethanol industry. Nobody does it better than the fine folks of the Renewable Fuels Association. See you in San Antonio!
Until next time, have a good, productive and safe month.
National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center
Phone: 618-659-6737 Ext 226