Brian Kletscher, CEO of Highwater Ethanol, explaining cooling tower and waste water treatment plant operations to Springfield High School students.
Lamberton, Nov 13 – Eighteen students from Springfield High School toured Highwater Ethanol today to learn more about homegrown renewable energy production.
During the tour, the students, from grades 10 to 12, learned about the various processes in ethanol production at Highwater Ethanol, which produces 59.5 million gallons a year.
“By getting a first-hand look at our operations, we hope to have an impact on these students as they plan on furthering their education and eventually head into their respective working careers. Ethanol produced here in Lamberton supports our local farm economy and promotes homegrown energy independence," said Brian Kletscher, CEO of Highwater Ethanol.
The students, who were from the school’s Ag Science and Horticulture classes, toured the plant’s administrative office, water treatment process, incoming grain grading and handling, ethanol loadout, ethanol process facility, energy center, dried distiller grain production and storage.
The tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Biofuels), a non-profit trade organization that represents the ethanol industry in Minnesota. Highwater Ethanol is a member of MN Biofuels.
“These tours allow students the opportunity to engage with plant staff and learn about the many benefits that locally grown and made biofuels have, like reducing carbon emissions, contributing to consumer choice and lowering pump prices,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director at MN Biofuels.
Highwater Ethanol began operations in Lamberton in August 2009. It currently has 42 fulltime employees.
Sarah Lee, an Agriculture Education teacher at Springfield High School, said her students had discussed renewable energy and its environmental benefits prior to today’s tour.
“We grow a lot of corn in our area and it is neat for them to see, in more detail, how it is used. Living in the area, many students understand the ‘farm-to-table’ for our food, but with many vehicles on the road today that are able to run on E85, or an ethanol blend, it will be good for them to understand the ‘farm-to-fuel-tank’ process,” she said.
Lee said today’s tour also highlighted to her students the various career opportunities in the ethanol industry.
“This is extremely relevant to our local agricultural economy and is important for kids to get a better understanding of ethanol, its uses and the local and global impact. Our students now have a better idea of area job opportunities for post high school by seeing the process of corn to ethanol conversion and the technology used to help make it happen,” she added.