Pankonen joins EcoEngineers as service director for its US ethanol, biodiesel division
EcoEngineers announced Feb. 28 the appointment of McCord Pankonen as service director for the firm’s U.S. ethanol and biodiesel division.
Bringing more than two decades of experience in the biofuels, chemical and agriculture industries, he will lead EcoEngineers’ consulting practice to the ethanol industry and assist clients employ new innovations, such as carbon capture and storage, to keep pace with the changing landscape of low-carbon fuel policy, funding and investment opportunities, and technology options.
Since 2021, more than 40 ethanol plants in the Midwest have announced that they will utilize carbon capture and storage to become bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) projects.
BECCS is a key technology required to control emissions from fuel production and use.
Currently, only around 2 metric tons of biogenic carbon dioxide are captured globally per year, relative to the 250-metric-ton removal required per year by 2030 for the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.
“Ethanol plants in the Midwest have a tremendous opportunity to prove to the world that BECCS can be done,” said EcoEngineers’ CEO Shashi Menon. “EcoEngineers is helping make this happen, and McCord’s deep knowledge of the ethanol industry and experience managing capital-intensive projects will be critical to our ethanol clients as they take advantage of this opportunity.”
In addition to developing multiple innovative biorefining services and technologies, Pankonen co-authored a U.S. patent for an invention that involves enhancing recovery of distiller’s corn oil from the corn-to-ethanol process.
Prior to joining EcoEngineers, Pankonen led the U.S. renewable energy business unit for Greenfield Global as general manager.
There he oversaw the successful restart of a 50 million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant and negotiating multiple capital and low-carbon projects.
Prior to that, he held leadership positions in companies including Syngenta, Trucent (formerly Valicor), and Solenis (formerly Ashland Water Technologies).
Pankonen holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and information systems from Dakota State University.
He is a division artillery warrant officer in the Minnesota Army National Guard, where he has served since 1993.