The Annual ACE Conference

*Some speakers have allowed their presentations to be made publicly available; those are linked below



Wednesday, August 14

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM       Welcome Reception

*Sponsored by Iowa Corn Growers Association, Kansas Corn Growers Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Minnesota Corn Growers Association, Ohio Corn & Wheat, Illinois Corn Growers Association, Nebraska Corn Board, Michigan Corn Growers Association, and the Kentucky Corn Growers Association


Thursday, August 15

7:30 AM                       Registration Open

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM        Continental Breakfast

*Sponsored by: CoBank & Farm Credit Services of America

8:30 AM - 11:45 AM      General Session

Keynote/Welcome: Nebraska Governor Ricketts
Governor Ricketts will welcome attendees to Nebraska and provide an update on how Nebraska is advancing ethanol in the marketplace. 
What it Takes: Updates from ACE Leadership
ACE leadership will discuss the successes of the last year and highlight upcoming projects and opportunities we are working on for ACE members. 
  • Duane Kristensen, ACE Board President (representing Chief Ethanol Fuels)
  • Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President
Keynote: Exports & Trade - U.S. Grains Council CEO, Ryan LeGrand
With export markets and trade policy in the spotlight, hear the new CEO of the USGC outline opportunities and challenges to increase ethanol and coproduct markets around the world. 
Mexico market update
  • Stephan Wittig, U.S. Grains Council Mexico Director
  • Jorge Lerdo, Ethanol Consultant, U.S. Grains Council
Capitalizing on Carbon
It is becoming increasingly important for ethanol producers to calculate the upside potential of investing in processes and technologies to reduce carbon intensity. This panel will reveal how you can benefit from the emerging carbon economy and the new opportunities on the horizon.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM      Lunch & Awards Presentation

*Sponsored by: Fagen Inc.

1:30 PM - 4:45 PM        Breakout Sessions - 3 Rounds, 3 concurrent sessions


In this interactive session, attendees will use KCoe People's 'Culture Meets Compliance Wheel' to assess and address the efficacy of their organization's HR and talent development systems and processes. Participants can expect to have their mindsets about leadership development and traditional performance management challenged and will walk away with a list of new ideas and strategies to their specific HR "pain points."
  • Moderator: Scott McDermott, Partner, Ascendant Partners
  • Michael Franko, VP Business Development, Fluid Quip Technologies
  • Peter E.V. Williams, Senior Nutritionist, Fluid Quip Technologies
  • Dr. Ryan Mass, Feed Business Manager, ICM Inc.
Industry leaders have been introducing new technologies to increase protein content in DDGs. Hear from two of these leaders as they discuss the pros and cons of considering new technologies and the opportunities available in a high protein feed market. 

FQT will present their MSC Maximized Stillage CoproductsTM technology, which produces Still Pro 50, a 50% purity protein product that trades in the alternative high-value protein market and is a unique blend of spent brewer’s yeast and corn gluten meal. The protein has shown great success in the pet food, aqua, dairy, poultry, and swine markets.

ICM, Inc. will present their FST™/FST Next Gen™, the next layer of ICM technology following SMT™/SMTV2™. This progressive pre-fermentation separation system is designed to remove fiber prior to fermentation. Removing the fiber provides plants with the ability to concentrate process streams and to better utilize the capacities of fermentation and distillation. 

Natural gas is one of the most volatile commodities on an ethanol plant's balance sheet and typically accounts for approximately 20% of a plant's budget. There are many factors that drive natural gas prices on a short and long-term basis that are outside of your control. Minimizing risk to this volatility is critical, as price is a main driver to the success of the plant. While we've seen increased stability and relatively low natural gas prices since the 2010 shale revolution, the market is still susceptible to seasonal swings and dramatic regional day price volatility, which can quickly create a budget blowout. A solid risk management strategy will provide valuable budget certainty, while allowing plants to benefit from a low price environment. This presentation will cover various supply and demand market factors that impact the dynamic natural gas market, fundamental concepts of risk management and a variety of risk management approaches, and the benefits and risks associated with each approach. 
As the ethanol industry matures, there is a growing interest in energy efficiency projects to increase margins, meet regulatory requirements, and fulfill new market demands for lower carbon fuels. Many ethanol plants have increased efficiency and reduce their carbon footprints with let-down turbines and CHP systems. Join presenters from TotalGen Services and Saola Energy as they walk through options to improve your plant's carbon intensity score and overal energy efficiency. 


AgTech in the supply chain and real traceability

Dane Braun, Product Owner & VP of Product, Bushel

Learn how agtech is applied to provide ag-value chain stakeholders transparency into the traceability of food.
  • Jessica Lopez, MSc, PEng, Product Development Manager, Whitefox Technologies Canada
With low ethanol prices, there are strategies that can make ethanol profitable, even in tough market conditions, while simultaneously improving carbon intensity levels. Existing ethanol plants can reduce steam and water consumption while improving carbon efficiency by optimizing plant operations with the use of membranes. Bolt-on membrane solutions remove bottlenecks by dehydrating water rich streams such as fusel oil draws, mole sieve recycle and mole sieve regenerate stream. These side streams account for more than 20% of product output in most plants, which take up distillation capacity and waste steam, cooling water, and electricity. Treating these side streams directly, rather than recycling them upstream, give a producer the ability to significantly reduce operational costs. 
This presentation will focus on how membrane technology improves overall efficiency of existing distillation/dehydration, combining the benefits of mole sieve and membrane technology. Whitefox will present data from its existing U.S. installations to demonstrate tangible benefits that contribute to profitable operations, including case studies showing how the Integrated Cartridge Efficiency (ICE) solution eliminates the recycle/regen streams from the distillation-dehydration process and reduces stream consumption by an average of 1,500 BTU per gallon.  




The most common and traditional cleaning aid in fuel ethanol production is the use of 3-5 percent caustic solution (sodium hydroxide). This cleaning program is utilized to reduce and remove organic fouling and soil residue from the cook and fermentation process to reduce the potential for bacterial overgrowth in fermentation by removing the food source of the bacteria, without directly targeting the bacteria. A sodium hydroxide cleaning program also assists in improving heat transfer in the exchangers and coolers by removing organic layers created by bacteria. Spent CIP (clean in place) solution is typically diluted out in the process. The residual sodium left behind in this dilution process recycles through the process again and again increasing sodium levels that can lead to yeast inhibition. This process is also limited by temperature due to potential negative metal interactions with carbon steel pipes and tanks. Alternative solutions will reduce organic fouling and soil, reduce sodium load in fermentation and provide additional bacterial control, which will improve yield and potentially reduce chmeical costs. 


Overcoming the Margin Squeeze: An Evaluation of Strategies to Manage Your Plant's Cost of Capital
Profit margins continue to be tight, but ethanol producers are finding more and more innovations that help them find enough value in a bushel of corn to remain profitable. Effective management of the cost of capital - reviewing a plant's debt-equity structure to optimize investor value - is one aspect of profitability that plant managers and executive boards increasingly find examination useful. 
Minimizing the cost of capital is desirable to the bottom line, but examining debt load, working capital, and other financial measures can also be important when considering additional capacity, merging with or acquiring other facilities, other large-capital investment projects, or even a sale. 
In this session, the panel will first look at the current industry landscape when it comes to the balance sheet equation, reviewing financial ratio averages from Christianson's Biofuels Benchmarking data to help understand how most plants are currently funded. They'll then discuss goal-setting at the board level, and how this critical process affects decisions about capital investments and financing choices. 
How Biorefineries Can Achieve Success by Adopting Focused Strategies
  • Jeff Scharping, Sales Director, ICM, Inc.
Historically, it has not been necessary for ethanol producers to follow a specific strategy to achieve success; a wide-open playing field in the early stages of a market made it easy for plants to grow. As the market matures, however, producers are faced with new challenges, including lower margins and increased government regulations. It's time for producers to make fundamental strategy choices to realize desired outcomes and longevity in the ethanol industry. This session will cover various business strategies that could work for today's ethanol plants, and how ICM has implemented a customer intimacy strategy and made it part of their culture in every part of their organization. This talk will give industry leaders ideas for staying relevant and successful in today's changing market. 

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM        Networking Reception

*Sponsored by: RPMG


Friday, August 16, 2019

7:30 AM - 8:30 AM        Continental Breakfast


8:30 AM - 12:00 PM      General Session

RINs, Carbon Credits, and other E15 and Flex Fuel Marketer Math
During the first summer of nation-wide approved E15 use, the 2019 retailer panel will cover not only the long-term market growth opportunity EPA's new E15 rule presents, but also the history and math associated with selling E15 and higher blends, like E85, including low carbon fuel credits and Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs). 
What’s going on in the third branch of government?
Bryan Stockton, Counsel, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, will provide an update on the various legal battles to protect the RFS and ethanol market share.
Hear from leading technology providers and producers on the strategies available to diversify your products, become more efficient, and remain profitable well into the future.


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2018 Annual conference

conference Photos

Conference Coverage



*Speaker presentations are being added as permission is granted; check back for periodic additions, or contact Shannon Gustafson at if you're seeking one in particular.

2018 ACE Conference Testimonials

“I really enjoy attending the ACE conference. It has always provided great networking opportunities for attendees. The atmosphere feels like a family gathering, where conversations are centered around the future of the ethanol industry and valuable feedback is received from plant executives and board members.” Adam Belyamani, COO, Saola Energy

“Networking was definitely one of the best benefits as a first-time conference attendee.” Emily Koop, KS Corn Growers Association

“I enjoyed the update of current happenings in the ethanol world as relayed by the ethanol producers that were at the ACE meeting. Frank discussion and concern were refreshing. I also enjoyed listening to the sessions – especially the fuel station managers on the last day.” Dale Ihry, ND Corn Growers Association
"I think the leadership in ACE is some of the best in the industry and I wanted to show our support and be engaged. I thought ACE did a nice job of focusing on the key points and issues and allowing us a forum to hear. I’d recommend people attend the ACE conference — we can’t make the changes needed by the industry if we aren’t at the table.” Erik Huschitt, CEO & GM Badger State Ethanol

“Meeting new individuals who are also passionate about alternative fueling and gaining some knowledge on other retailers, producers, and other uses of ethanol in the supply chain were highlights of the ACE conference, as well as learning how other parts of the country market and dispense the alternative fuel. I would highly recommend the ACE conference to anybody who would like to network, learn more, and share ideas about the alternative fuel industry.” Glenn Badenhop, Owner of American Freedom Energy c-store

“ACE does an excellent job at picking speakers relevant to the most pressing issues and topics at the time. ACE’s meetings are great — very informative and showed a good thought process. All employees were thoughtful and cordial.” Jan Lundebrek, CVEC

“The session with the fuel retailers was my favorite part of the ACE conference as they provided the best perspective on how the general population perceives ethanol. If the goal is to sell more ethanol, I feel it’s important to understand what people outside the industry think so we can figure out how to influence them and the general consumer.” Kim Herzog, Encore Energy

“The ACE conference provides many opportunities for networking with producers, ACE staff and other industry supporters and vendors. It's a valuable event for anyone involved or interested in the biofuels industry who wants to become more informed and meet many of the leaders in the industry.” Jerry Tegels, Buckman

“I enjoy the ACE conference as I was able to reconnect with those who we went with to the ACE Washington, D.C. fly-in.” Jerry Calease, Golden Grain Energy

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