Member Spotlight : Merjent


This month, we spotlight Merjent, a Minneapolis-based environmental consulting firm. Read our interview with Billy VonSee, Principal at Merjent, below.

Billy Vonsee PE Merjent

Q. Please tell us about Merjent.

A. Merjent is an environmental consulting firm committed to serving the energy industry. We maintain our focus on the energy industry because we want to provide our clients with the best service possible, and the key to that level of service is understanding as much about their business activities as possible. This focus not only makes us efficient in providing customized services, but it also allows us to proactively address potential issues before they become a hindrance to our clients' business.

Night-time stack testing Merjent

Night time stack testing by Merjent

Q. Please tell us about your company's role within the ethanol industry in Minnesota and why the company is committed to supporting the ethanol induystry now and in the future?

A. Merjent staff have been serving the Minnesota ethanol industry since 1999, including active membership in supporting organizations. Merjent believes in the industry's vision of a robust, renewable supply of transportation fuel, and we also understand the value of supporting local business, both direct and indirectly.

Q. From your perspective, what would you like consumers to know about the ethanol industry and the fuel it produces?

A. Minnesota ethanol plants have been producing fuel ethanol for more thant two decades. This is not a brand new fuel, and billions of miles have been driven on ethanol blends. Consumers deserve choices, and we support the ethanol industry in its production of a viable clean-burning alternative.

Q. What do you think is needed for the availability of E15 to grow?

A. For E15 to become more available and grow, it needs to be placed into the fuel market on a large scale. Challenges limiting E15 market share include requirements under EPA's partial waiver and the current Renewable Fuel Standard regulations.

Q. What do you see as the ethanol industry's biggest challenge?

A. The biggest challenge to the ethanol industry is market development. Ethanol is economical, but the market was developed for a single source of fuel starting more than a century ago. Such a developed market is not easy to change without a serious shift in supply or demand (or both). The challenge will be to figure out what will cause that shift (e.g., changes in demand based on price, engine manufacturers approving its use, greater presence at the pump, etc.)

Q. What does your company see for the future of ethanol and advanced biofuels?

A. For the next decade, we see the industry focusing on increasing market share and improvements to existing production facilities for (1) adding value added co-products, (2) adding technologies like cellulosic biofuel, and (3) increasing efficiency.

Stack testing on a cold winter day Merjent

Stack testing during winter