US progress in the commercialisation of advanced biofuels/cellulosic ethanol

Jim McMillan, Chief Engineer, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)


James D. (“Jim”) McMillan, Ph.D., is Chief Engineer for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Bioenergy Center. He has over 25 years research experience advancing lignocellulose biorefining science and technology and is an active contributor to NREL’s portion of the United States Department of Energy’s Biomass Program. Jim also co-leads IEA Bioenergy Task 39, which is focused on accelerating development and commercialization of liquid biofuels. Jim obtained his B.S. in chemical engineering with high distinction from Colorado State University and his M.S. in chemical engineering practice and Ph.D. in biochemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

About the speech:

Since the mid 2000s, the United States has been the world leader in production of fuel ethanol, primarily from corn grain starch, with a total of approximately 200 dry mills together producing about 15 billion gallons (~57 B liters) of ethanol per year. The US has also helped lead development of cellulosic ethanol production technology based on the use of non-food residues (from agricultural/starch crop residues or residuals from forestry/wood processing operations), with several commercial scale cellulosic ethanol plants recently started up. This talk with provide an overview of the current fuel ethanol production situation in the United States, focusing on progress being made in scaling up cellulosic feedstock based ethanol production.