Advancing and Driving Demand for Biofuels Through Research at the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center

October 2, 2020

Advancing and Driving Demand for Biofuels Through Research at the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center

Oct 2, 2020

Key Issues:Ethanol

Author: Julie Busse

The National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC) has expanded its capabilities and offerings over the years, but one thing remains the same; its mission to create opportunities for America’s corn farmers.


NCERC opened its doors, thanks to the work and partnership with the Illinois Corn Growers Association (ICGA), back in 2003. Along with ICGA, NCGA has worked closely with NCERC to help underscore the advantages of renewable corn ethanol. 


“Ethanol production in the United States has grown significantly since NCERC opened its doors from roughly 2.8 billion gallons annually to the nearly 16 billion gallons of production today,” said NCERC Executive Director John Caupert. “NCERC has assisted in advancements in fuel ethanol production, with more than 75 products and technologies that have passed through our doors now in the commercial marketplace. These products and technologies are being utilized in every commercial corn ethanol plant operating today, with a significant impact: more than 5,000 new jobs created and nearly $6 billion of annual revenue.”


Thanks to the investment of checkoff funds by corn farmers, the work at NCERC has and will continue to bring value back to the farm. Having a partner like NCERC is more important now than ever.


“The advancements that have been made in the biofuels industry, thanks to the work of NCERC, has directly benefited corn farmers through the growth of ethanol and exploration for new bio-based products from U.S. corn,” said Illinois corn farmer and NCGA ethanol action team member Jim Reed. As we look to the future on how we can continue to drive corn demand, we will look to partners like NCERC for their expertise to help us chip away at corn surplus.”


NCERC partners with companies on dozens of renewable compounds, including biofuels, biochemicals, biomaterials and bioproducts.


“At NCERC, ethanol will always be the foundation of our work,” Caupert added. “But just like building a home, a foundation is something we must build upon. At NCERC, we are building upon the foundation provided by ethanol. As policy, technology, and industry have evolved, NCERC has evolved along with it.


Now, more than ever, new uses and new market opportunities are needed for America’s corn farmers. NCERC is assisting in the development of new uses for corn by assisting private sector companies in the commercialization of processes by which biomaterials and bioproducts are produced. One of the most exciting areas of bioprocess development has been in the area of biopolymers. The commercial application of biopolymers is endless. From liners in cardboard boxes to liners in baby diapers, and everything in between, someday soon, we will be able to utilize corn-based biopolymers.

The future for corn utilization in bioprocessing is exciting - and the future is now.”


NCERC is located in University Park of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. You can learn more about the National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center here.