Ethanol Issues at Corn Utilization Conference

Cindy Zimmerman

cutc geoff cooperIndirect land use change and DDGs quality were two of the ethanol-related topics that were featured at the 2010 Corn Utilization and Technology Conference (CUTC) sponsored by the National Corn Growers Association and held last week in Atlanta.

Geoff Cooper with the Renewable Fuels Association took part in the event and chaired one of the technical sessions. “Five or six years ago if you had come to this conference, you would not have heard many mentions of greenhouse gases and carbon footprint and things like that, but those issues are front of mind with the industry today and those themes really permeated a lot of the sessions this year.”

Cooper says there was some discussion about an environmental group lawsuit over the Renewable Fuel Standard that claims EPA did not account for the “Global Rebound Effect.” “In essence, what the theory suggests is that by using more biofuels in the United States, we’re driving down oil consumption, which results in oil prices decreasing, and because oil prices are lower then people in other parts of the world start using more oil,” Cooper said. “So they’re suggesting that would occur as a result of the RFS 2 and that those emissions should be attributable to biofuels like ethanol.”

Of course, he points out that the goal of the RFS 2 is to reduce oil consumption. “So we find it a little questionable that now they would be suggesting that it’s a bad thing that we’re reducing our oil consumption in the U.S. as a result of that policy,” Cooper said.

The theme of the Corn Utilization and Technology Conference was “Corn: America’s Renewable Resource” and Cooper says since this year’s crop is expected to be another big one, increasing markets continues to be important. “Corn is a great crop with a lot of utility, let’s put it to work,” he said.

Listen to an interview with Geoff Cooper in the player below and see photos from the conference on Flickr.

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