Minneapolis, Feb 25 - The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Bio-Fuels) and Heartland Corn Products hosted a virtual plant visit for 11 students from Central High School in Norwood Young America on Feb 23.
The students, from grades 10 to 12, were given a virtual presentation on the plant’s operations, facts on the ethanol industry and a video on the ethanol production process.
“We were happy to have the opportunity to share our story with the next generation. It is important that they know clean energy is made in their backyard, while creating value for rural communities and consumers across the country,” said Gary Anderson, CEO of Heartland Corn Products.
Established in Winthrop in 1994, Heartland Corn Products began producing 10 million gallons of ethanol in 1995. Today, it produces close to 120 million gallons of ethanol a year.
“The virtual ethanol plant visit we hosted on Feb 23 is the first of a series of virtual plant visits we will host this spring. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this is the safest way for students to learn about ethanol production and the ethanol industry,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of MN Bio-Fuels.
Heartland Corn Products is a membership co-op comprised of farmers and farmer-owned organizations and these members provide the corn used by the plant to produce ethanol, Anderson said.
Heartland Corn Products receives some 40 million bushels of corn a year.
Anderson explained to the students that with yeast and enzyme technologies, Heartland Corn Products is close to producing 3 gallons of ethanol per bushel.
The students were from the school’s small gas engines class.
Jim Mesik, agriculture teacher at Central High School, participated in the virtual tour.
“The small gas engines class was able to benefit greatly from this virtual ethanol experience. They now understand how it is made, how it is blended with gasoline to meet our fuel needs, and all the environmental positives from ethanol. This makes the students more informed consumers of fuels and more knowledgeable engine students.
“Plus, ethanol is good for the rural Minnesota economy, so understanding how buying ethanol is good for our local communities is another benefit. The class is very appreciative of this educational opportunity,” he said.