Minneapolis, March 2 - The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Bio-Fuels) and Al-Corn Clean Fuel hosted two virtual plant visits for students from Triton High School last week.
During both virtual visits, the students, from grades 11 and 12, were given a virtual presentation on the plant’s operations, facts on the ethanol industry and a video on the ethanol production process.
“It was a pleasure explaining to the students how ethanol is produced, the fact that ethanol is solar-based energy available to fuel our cars today, and the role ethanol has in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening the rural economy in Minnesota,” said Thomas Harwood, chief operating officer at Al-Corn Clean Fuel.
The virtual visits were held on Feb 25 and 26. The students for both virtual visits were from Triton High School’s Agricultural Economics class. In total, 14 students participated in the virtual visits. Triton High School is located in Dodge Center.
Established in 1996, Harwood said Claremont-based Al-Corn Clean Fuel uses 40 million bushels of corn per year to produce 130 million gallons of ethanol, 260,000 tons of dried distillers grains with solubles and 40 million pounds of corn oil per annum.
“With the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, these virtual visits are a safe way for students to learn about ethanol production and the ethanol industry,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director at MN Bio-Fuels.
During the virtual visits, Harwood explained how Al-Corn Clean Fuel began producing 20 million gallons of industrial alcohol for sanitizers, cosmetics, solvents and anti-freeze in 2020.
He also told the students about the qualifications required for the various careers in the ethanol industry, adding Al-Corn Clean Fuel currently has 55 employees.
Robert Ickler, Agricultural Economics instructor at Triton High School, participated in both virtual visits.
“We have been studying the commodity markets in Agricultural Economics. The virtual tour of Al-Corn gave students an opportunity to visualize one of the end-users of corn and how this value-added industry increases the overall economic output of a region,” he said.