Minneapolis, Oct 26 - Fourteen students from Minnesota State University, Mankato toured Guardian Energy yesterday to get a closer look at clean renewable energy production.
During the tour, the students learned several components of ethanol production including incoming grain grading, grain handling, fermentation, grain storage, dried distiller grain production and storage, ethanol storage and shipment.
Yesterday’s tour was the second time students from Minnesota State Mankato have toured Guardian Energy this month. On Oct 11, students from the university’s Biological Engineering Analysis class visited Guardian Energy. The students who participated in yesterday’s tour are from the university’s Agroecology class.
“We were pleased to welcome another Minnesota State Mankato class to our plant to learn about locally produced biofuels. Tours like this are an opportunity for students to engage with our employees on the facility’s efficiency and production processes and to highlight ethanol’s many benefits,” said Jeanne McCaherty, CEO of Guardian Energy.
The tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Biofuels). Guardian Energy is a member of MN Biofuels.
“These tours provide students a better understanding of how a homegrown ingredient is converted into a clean fuel that has been reducing and continues to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, saves consumers money at the pump and makes America more energy independent,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director at MN Biofuels.
Minnesota State Mankato biology professor, Christopher T. Ruhland, who accompanied his students for the tour, said his students had previously learned about starch extraction and ethanol conversion.
“My students were able to observe how starch is converted to ethanol in a step-by-step process. From the minute that the corn kernels leave the truck to seeing the finished product loaded into rail cars, the entire cycle is covered in this tour,” Ruhland said.
In fact, Ruhland anticipates some of his students will pursue careers in biofuels at an advanced level.
“It is one thing to talk about biofuel production in the classroom and the lab, but seeing how benchtop science is scaled-up to industrial production is obviously very important and the students are always very excited to see how things they learn about in a classroom setting are actually performed in a local agribusiness,” he added.