2008 Workshop: Profitable Use of Biomass at Ethanol Plants

February 19, 2008
North Mankato Best Western

February 20, 2008
Divots Conference Center, Norfolk, NE

February 21, 2008
Airport Holiday Inn, Des Moines, IA

Powerpoint presentations

General Presentations

All presentations and perspectives links will open a PDF in a new tab or window:


Ethanol Plant Persepctive

Lender Perspective

Pollution Control Perspective

Public Policy Perspective

Cost: $60 (includes lunch)

These meetings focus on evaluating alternatives for using biomass fuels (DDGS or other ethanol co-products and/or corn stover) to generate electricity and process heat at ethanol plants. We believe this approach can positively impact key issues affecting the ethanol industry.

These meetings are for:

  • Ethanol Plant Managers and Board Members
  • Bankers Financing Ethanol Projects
  • Regulators
  • Utilities
  • Engineering Companies
  • Policy makers


Program Overview

Objective: Learn about opportunities to use biomass at ethanol plants to:

  • reduce energy costs
  • generate renewable electricity
  • improve the renewable energy balance (reduce carbon footprint)
  • improve profit margins

Technical Considerations

  • Potential biomass fuels
  • Conversion technologies
  • Emissions control
  • Integration with existing plant systems
  • Levels of implementation (process heat, combined heat and power, electricity to the grid)
  • Renewable energy balance

The Carbon Footprint for Ethanol

  • Definition
  • Why it is important
  • How to calculate it
  • How to improve (lower) it

Economic Considerations for Biomass

  • Economic factors favoring biomass
  • Increased capital costs
  • Operating costs and incentives
  • Rates of return
  • Policy implications

Generating Electric Power at Ethanol Plants

  • Combined heat and power (CHP)
  • Selling power to the grid
  • Opportunities, regulations, incentives
  • Renewable power incentives


  • Ethanol plants
  • Lenders
  • Regulators
  • Public policy

Program Agenda

All presentation links below will open a PDF in a new tab or window:

8:30 am Registration

9:00 am Welcome and Overview of Biomass at Ethanol Plants (presentation)

  • Vance Morey, Professor, Bioproducts & Biosytems Engineering, University of Minnesota

9:25 am Biomass Conversion and Integration at Ethanol Plants (presentation)

  • Matt De Kam, Graduate Student, Bioproducts & Biosytems Engineering, University of Minnesota

9:55 am Calculating the Carbon Footprint for Ethanol (presentation)

  • Adam Liska, Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Energy Sciences Research, University of Nebraska (Norfolk and Des Moines)
  • Vance Morey (Mankato)

10:25 am Break

10:45 am Economic Considerations for Biomass (presentation)

  • Doug Tiffany, Research Fellow, Applied Economics, University of Minnesota

11:30 am Generating Electricity at Ethanol Plants and Selling to the Grid (presentation)

  • Larry Schedin, LLS Resources, LLC

Noon Buffet Lunch

12:45 pm Ethanol Plant Perspectives

  • Bill Lee, Chippewas Valley Ethanol - Mankato - (presentation)
  • Normal Reese, Frontline Bioenergy- Norfolk
  • Normal Reese, Frontline Bioenergy- Des Moines

1:15 pm Lender Perspectives (presentation)

  • Mark Schmidt, AgStaf Financial - Mankato
  • Chad Gent / Shane Frahm, Farm Credit Services of America - Norfolk
  • Ron Monson, Farm Credit Services of America - Des Moines

1:45 pm Pollution Control Perspectives

  • Jess Richards, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency - Mankato (presentation)
  • Hugh Stirts, Nebraska Dept. of Environmental Quality - Norfolk (presentation)
  • To be determined - Des Moines

2:15 pm Public Policy Perspectives

  • Kenneth Brownl, Minnesota Department of Commerce - Mankato (presentation)
  • John O'Connor, Nebraska Public Power District - Norfolk (presentation)
  • Brian Crowe, Iowa Office of Energy Independence - Des Moines (presentation)

2:45 pm Wrap up and Evaluation

Speaker Bios

Matt De Kam

Matt De Kam is a graduate student in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Minnesota. He is modeling integration of biomass combustion/gasification in corn ethanol plants. He has a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Calvin College.

Adam Liska

Adam Liska is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska. He completed his Ph.D. in biology in 2003 at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, in Dresden, Germany, and completed his B.S. in biochemistry and biology at the University of Nebraska. Adam is a member of a team of faculty studying the energy efficiency and environmental impact of corn-ethanol biofuel production systems. His current research includes the life-cycle analysis of crop-based ethanol, biodiesel, and cellulosic ethanol, potential GHG emissions trading for biofuels, and the impact of biofuels on food security and the environment. He lead development of the Biofuel Energy Systems Simulator (BESS) Model for studying life-cycle energy and GHG emissons of corn ethanol.

Vance Morey

Vance Morey is a professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and has been at the University of Minnesota since 1970. He earned is PhD from Purdue University and his undergraduate degree from Michigan State University. He served as Head of the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering from 1992 to 2001.

His current areas of research involve biomass utilization to provide heat and power at ethanol plants, and biomass densification to improve handling, transportation and storage. His past research involved post-harvest handling of grain including drying, storage, and improving quality.

He teaches courses in food process engineering and introduction to design.

Larry Schedin

Larry Schedin started his own energy consulting business, Schedin & Associates Inc. in 1980 after 18 years with Northern States Power Company, a large electric and gas utility company serving over two million people in a four-state service area. His utility experience included a variety of management positions such as; Director of Corporate Planning (1976-78), General Manager of Rates (1971-75), Manager of Power Supply Coordination (1970-71), System Planning Engineer and other engineering positions (1961-70).

In 1998, Alliant Energy of Madison, Wisconsin purchased Schedin & Associates Inc. and operated the business as part of their non-regulated consulting business subsidiary named Alliant Energy Integrated Services, LLC. Mr. Schedin continued to manage the Minneapolis office for Alliant Energy until early 2004. In March, 2004 Mr. Schedin began a new business named LLS Resources, LLC where he continues to serve a broad range of commercial, industrial, institutional and utility clients.

Mr. Schedin has a bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota and a Masters Degree in Engineering Management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Minnesota.

Doug Tiffany

Doug Tiffany is a Research Fellow in Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. He has worked on energy-related topics, including biomass fuels and energy requirements of agricultural production. Collaborating with others he has estimated the economics of using biodiesel to reduce emissions in underground mines, biodiesel production economics, ethanol plant economics, the grain flow patterns of Minnesota, and impacts of the Kyoto Accord on Midwestern agriculture. He has published papers on the economics of wind energy, pyrolysis of native prairie grasses, phosphorous abatement strategies, and the payoffs of precision agriculture. Doug has made numerous presentations of his work with audiences including graduate-level seminars, legislative hearings, farmer extension audiences, as well as the U.S. Military Academy and U.S. Naval Academy. For the academic year 2001-2002, Doug was awarded the Endowed Chair of Agricultural Systems in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environmental Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Doug has worked in state government and commercial banking with most involvement in land valuation and policies. Doug earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Agricultural Economics at the University of Minnesota.