The National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville has teamed up with Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc., the Georgia-based electrical, engineering, and automation giant, to speed up the development of alternative fuel technology.
This story from the Chemical Online web site says a 10-year agreement between the two will involve hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, software, and on-site simulation training at the unique NCERC:
The SIMATIC PCS 7 distributed control system and instrumentation from Siemens is now being used by the NCERC to help validate near-term technologies that are enhancing the economics and sustainability of renewable fuel production.
“Our clients come to this facility for best-in-class, cutting edge technology,” says John Caupert, director of the NCERC. “They are looking for the newest and most efficient ways to convert grain-based feedstock to ethanol. Through our partnership with Siemens, the center will maintain that level of technology.”
According to the NCERC, there is a growing demand for new workers in the alternative fuels industry. Center statistics show there are 110 ethanol plants in operation in the U.S. and approximately 80 new plants are under construction.
“We are the only organization in the world that offers both classroom training and hands on instruction to anyone,” Caupert says. “By collaborating with Siemens, we will be able to offer one-hour seminars and five-day process training sessions on the control system as well as training for the executives who will run the plants.”
Earlier this year, the center trained 45 recently-out-of-work autoworkers from Michigan.
The NCERC is the only facility of its kind anywhere in the world and works to help thecommercial development of ethanol, as well as training people to work in the bio-fuels fields.