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NCERC welcomes back Pohlman as Director of Business Development & Client Relations
Since departing from NCERC in October 2018, Pohlman returns to lead NCERC's business development efforts after working at the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as Manager of Member Relations. Prior to serving RFA, Pohlman was the Specialist of Commercialization at NCERC and led the onboarding of research clients while promoting NCERC’s research capabilities across various biorenewable industries. Pohlman began her career in the biofuel industry while earning a master’s of business administration at SIUE’s School of Business.

“I’m eager to return to NCERC and be part of the center’s next chapter in providing unrivaled expertise and research capabilities to the biorenewable industry’s most innovative companies,” said Pohlman. “NCERC is truly a one-of-a-kind organization that is poised to play an integral role in helping companies across the globe commercialize technologies that will pave the way for a cleaner, more sustainable future. I’m thrilled to be a part of it, and contribute by connecting these companies to NCERC’s skilled staff and unique facility.”

Pohlman plans to revitalize NCERC’s business development strategy and build stronger relationships with all biorenewable industries.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Jackie as our director of business development and client relations, because this position is mission critical to NCERC’s success,” said NCERC Executive Director John Caupert. “Jackie served in exemplary fashion during her previous role as specialist of commercialization. She brought an unmatched awareness to the unique capabilities only NCERC can offer. From the time she left that role, we felt the impact.

“In this capacity, Jackie’s efforts will stretch far beyond the scope of client contractual research, as she will also seek sponsored project opportunities, as well as serve on the NCERC Research, Grants, Education and Training team. Additionally, she will also assume responsibility for all marketing, communications and promotions efforts.”

Jackie's contact info:
Jackie Pohlman
Director of Business Development & Client Relations
618-659-6737 ext 260
NCERC Leading the Way on MSW to Biofuel Conversion
The NCERC has received funding from a grant proposal that was submitted to SIUE’s Transitional and Exploratory Projects (STEP) grant program by Jie Dong, PhD, NCERC’s fermentation scientist and assistant professor in the SIUE Department of Chemistry. The project’s goal is centered on the conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW), waste that comes from both residential and commercial sources, to biofuel. The biofuel created through this method is ethanol, which is currently used across the country as an octane-boosting fuel additive in gasoline.

Another proposal was submitted in April by NCERC to the United States Department of Energy (DOE) and is a collaboration between NCERC and industry-leading organizations from across the country, including a government lab, a waste management company from California, an international analytical equipment manufacturer, and a technology company leading in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and sensing technologies.

If funded, this two-year project will establish specifications needed for characterizing MSW for biofuel conversion and contribute to creating a more robust conversion method for turning MSW into biofuel or bioproducts. By creating a scalable model that will use waste as a feedstock for fuel, NCERC and its partners are turning trash into treasure and contributing to a solution that diverts waste from the landfill to a process that will provide added value. Read the full story on SIUE's website and share the news with your networks! Listen to an update on the grant proposals with WBGZ, Alton Daily News.
From the Executive Director's Desk
Weathering the COVID-19 storm: Looking back at challenges and opportunities
Blog post by NCERC Executive Director John Caupert
For nearly eighteen years, NCERC has been an intermediary for our stakeholders in industry, academia, government and trade associations. And while our position and the way that we work with our partners is unique, nothing could protect us from the storm that swept through in 2020 and ripped away every single contractual project that was taking place in our building.

That storm, the COVID-19 pandemic, brought both challenges and opportunities that we had never faced before. Like our colleagues in the biofuels industry and across the bio-based sector, we were faced with some tough situations that we’re now climbing out of. Now that we’re one year into the pandemic, I’m looking back with admiration for the perseverance the NCERC team demonstrated with high hopes that we’ll come out stronger than ever before on the other side.

On February 28, 2020 at 8:55am, I received a call from a client that has been routinely using NCERC’s facility to produce a bio-product that is currently being shopped around for various uses in the commercial marketplace. Given their global footprint, they knew before many of us did that the SARS virus was causing serious global market unrest and decided to immediately halt their project taking place in the NCERC facility. This was the first of many calls I received, and by the end of March, all current and potential contractual research projects had been halted.

This result of the COVID-19 pandemic quickly became the perfect example of something I’ve been saying for years about NCERC’s clientele base.

“When there is unrest in policy, it leads to unrest in the marketplace. When there is marketplace unrest, it leads to unrest in the investment community. When there is investment unrest, NCERC feels it immediately.” 

NCERC’s clients were experiencing unrest like never before, and our bottom line felt it immediately. However, while the situation at the time seemed pretty bleak, it turned out that unexpected opportunities were quickly coming our way. Click here to read the rest of the blog post.

Photo: Executive Director John Caupert with US Congressman Mike Bost during a tour of NCERC in October 2020

Stay Tuned: The NCERC blog will be made available on NCERC's website next month!
FY21 Funding Opportunity Announcement: BETO Scale-up and Conversion
On Friday, April 30, NCERC submitted a project concept paper to the U.S. Bioenergy Technologies Office's funding opportunity announcement, which was announced in early April and will provide $61 million for technologies and processes that produce low-cost, low-carbon biofuels. The proposed project includes collaborators from multiple Department of Energy laboratories, private companies, and academia and will further develop NCERC's work in Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to biofuel conversion.

In addition to this concept paper, NCERC is also a member of a team that submitted a project concept paper that focuses on the scale up a corn-to-sustainable aviation fuel project.

If the concept paper are approved, NCERC will move quickly to submit proposals by the June 21 deadline and anticipates feedback by the end of July 2021.
NCERC Filling Operations Positions for Upcoming Project
Throughout 2021, NCERC will work on a client trial that requires significant operations support through dozens of Assistant Scientific Analysts, Operating Technicians, and both Laboratory and Plant intern positions. These temporary positions are incredible opportunities for students, recent graduates, or those who want to work in biochemistry to gain impressive hands-on experience.

The minimum requirements for the analyst/technician positions are a high school diploma/GED and 24 months of experience/schooling in related fields/operations. The only minimum requirements to qualify for an intern position is a high school diploma or GED.

Open Positions:

Contact NCERC Business Manager Barb Randle with any questions or leads.
Former NCERC Intern Featured in Illinois Industrial Biotech Partnership Act Promo Video
NCERC is part of the Illinois Industrial Biotechnology Coalition, a group that is actively advocating for the Illinois Industrial Biotech Partnership Act (SB1693), which would establish the Industrial Biotechnology Public-Private Partnership as a State-sponsored board consisting of specified members to promote and market Illinois as a destination for research, development, and commercialization for industrial biotechnology.

Because visits to the State House are still restricted, the coalition had to look for novel approaches to help promote SB 1693 and the leadership team developed a video that has been shared with members of the Illinois General Assembly.

NCERC internship alum and former employee Charlette Hasty was featured in the video and spoke about the value of an NCERC internship and how it prepared her to enter the workforce. Charlette is now employed by a leading enzyme provider in the US ethanol industry, CTE Global. Click HERE to watch video.
NCERC's Earth Day Message
NCERC strives everyday to be the best partner we can to our clients and the bio-based industries we serve. We value our role in decarbonizing industry and the transportation sector through our support of the #ethanol industry. #EarthDay2021
Research Updates
Studies on the role of DDGS in fish diets continue as NCERC works with the University of Idaho's Aquaculture Research Institute (ARI) to perform a fish feeding study feeding high protein DDGS to salmon. So far, the results are positive as there is no significant difference between the DDGS diet and the control, a soybean meal diet.

In addition to the feeding trial currently being completed, NCERC completed a project that scaled up the propagation of a single cell protein (aka yeast), which will be utilized to replace fishmeal in salmon feed. The product of this project will be sent to the ARI to be tested on salmon, or potentially tilapia. The results of this project will be showcased at the 2021 Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) on July 14 in Des Moines.

Hemp to Biofuel Conversion
NCERC continues to utilize Dr. Jie Dong and his students' expertise to perform a hemp to biofuel conversion project. NCERC hopes to scale up this project soon and will also promote the results of this project at the FEW. A special thanks to our friends at SIU Carbondale for providing the feedstock for this ongoing project!
NCERC Employee Spotlight
Terry has been on NCERC's team since 2004 and a leader in facility operations and maintenance. He also and is considered the expert for everything related to NCERC's intermediate scale laboratory, the Fermentation Suite, which he commissioned in 2012.

According to Terry, his favorite part of his job is working with different people and is most proud of having taught so many operations staff members throughout his career.

Thanks, Terry, for your hard work and dedication!
Connections & Visits
Illinois Corn Growers Association Meeting
NCERC Office
April 7

St. Louis Agribusiness Club Monthly Meeting
April 14

Roots, Shoots and Flutes Webinar by the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
April 14

Advancing Synergistic Waste Utilization as Biofuels Feedstocks: Preprocessing, Co-products, and Sustainability Workshop
April 14-15

Renewable Fuels Association April Board Meeting
April 20
Upcoming Meetings
Growth Energy Executive Leadership Conference
Scottsdale, AZ
May 5 - 7

Fuel Ethanol Workshop
Des Moines, IA
July 13 - 15
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National Corn-to-Ethanol Research Center (NCERC)
400 University Park Drive, Edwardsville, IL 62025
618-659-6737 |