Minneapolis, April 6 - The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Bio-Fuels) and Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) hosted a virtual plant visit for 20 students from Ridgewater College on April 1.
During the plant visit, the students, from the college’s Animal Nutrition class, were given a virtual presentation on the plant’s operations, facts on the ethanol industry, and shown videos on the ethanol production process and the ethanol industry’s economic impact in Minnesota.
“Corn is a solar panel that exists right outside our windows. It captures carbon, utilizes it to create block-chain sugar and other energy. We convert that back into liquid energy that we can utilize in our transportation fuel,” said Chad Friese, CEO of CVEC during the virtual tour.
He said CVEC sources 17 million bushels of corn from local farms within 20 to 25 miles of the plant each year to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol and 140,000 tons of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) annually.
“This is corn that is grown for feed use and we’re taking that corn, making ethanol and providing a feed product. A corn kernel is about 8 - 10 percent protein. The process concentrates those nutritional parts so DDGS end up at about 27 - 28 percent protein. So, it’s a more efficient feed at relatively the same cost as corn itself. We grind it, we triple its nutrition value and give it back to the feeder,” Friese explained to the students.
In addition, he said CVEC produces industrial grade alcohol for products such as sanitizers and disinfectants.
“This tour provided the students a better idea of the importance of the ethanol industry to Minnesota’s economy and how it reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director for MN Bio-Fuels.
Kari Slinden, agriculture technology instructor at Ridgewater College, participated in the virtual tour with her students.
“Ridgewater College Animal Nutrition students benefited from the CVEC virtual tour by learning more about the ethanol producers and by-products produced. Many students feed their livestock DDGS or wet cake products, so it was good to know how they are made and the components in the feed,” said said.