Atlanta, GA - Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc. and the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) recently announced a partnership to speed the growth of alternative fuel technology. The 10-year agreement between the center and Siemens represents hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment, software and on-site simulation training.
Opened in 2003 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the NCERC—the only research center of its kind in the world—facilitates the commercialization of new technologies for producing ethanol more effectively, resulting in improved ethanol yields and reduction in costs. The Center plays a key role in the Bio-Fuels Industry for Workforce Training to assist in the growing need for qualified personnel to operate and manage bio-fuel refineries across the country. The NCERC also contributes to investigation in agricultural science, which results in creating new jobs and further economic development initiatives in the region.
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."
In January and March 2007, 45 displaced autoworkers from Michigan received comprehensive training during two sessions at the center. The Center also offers internships that provide hands on training for six months to one year.
"Our partnership with NCERC gives Siemens the opportunity to help reduce the time it takes to bring alternative fuels to market," says Dave Hankins, vice president, Chemical/Pharmaceutical Center of Competence, Siemens Energy & Automation. "Siemens is committed to the ethanol industry and will continue to look for new opportunities that will grow the viability of the market."
Since 2000, Siemens has supplied the process automation systems for two-thirds of the fuel ethanol plants built in the U.S.
SOURCE: Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.