Nov 13, 2015
BENSON, Nov 13 – Twenty-five high schools students toured the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) ethanol plant in Benson today to gain a better understanding of renewable fuel production.
The students, from Long Prairie Grey Eagle High School, toured the various processes of ethanol production at the 50 million gallon-a-year facility.
“CVEC as a local cooperative feels the future is very important. Showing these students and other young people how the investments of their parents and grandparents are affecting change for them, and how, is important to our employees, management and shareholders,” said Chad Friese, general manager of CVEC.
The students, from grades 10 to 12, learned several different components of ethanol production during the tour including incoming grain grading, grain handling, fermentation, grain storage, dried distiller grain production and storage, ethanol storage and shipment.
The plant tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association. CVEC is a member of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.
“Today’s visit is the third school tour we’ve organized over the last two months and is part of our annual grant program to schools in Minnesota to tour and learn about ethanol production.”
“The ethanol industry plays a vital role in Minnesota’s agriculture industry and through these tours, students are given a chance to see and understand the process of converting a homegrown renewable ingredient into clean energy,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.
CVEC is an ethanol production cooperative that commenced operations in 1996 and currently has 50 employees. CVEC has hosted many tours of its facilities over the years for high school agriculture students and 4-H’ers.
It has also worked with local school agriculture and science programs. In fact, Friese said, many of CVEC’s lab assistants have come from these programs.
Long Prairie Grey Eagle High School’s agriculture teacher, Curt Gjerstad, who accompanied the students, said the tour provided his students with an opportunity to see the many career opportunities available to them in the state.
“Ethanol production will continue to be a renewable energy source and viable career for Minnesota graduates,” Gjerstad said.
He said biofuels are a topic covered under the school’s Agronomy course, adding he expects some of his students will consider pursuing careers in the biofuel industry.