Heron Lake, May 14 – Thirteen students from Worthington High School visited the Heron Lake Bioenergy ethanol plant today to get a better understanding of clean Minnesota-produced renewable energy.
During the tour, the students learned about incoming grain grading, grain handling, fermentation, grain storage, dried distiller grain production and storage, liquefaction and ethanol storage and shipment.
“We are always happy to give tours of our manufacturing plant and talk about the benefits ethanol brings to our community, consumers, local producers, and the environment,” said Brodie McKeown, plant manager at Heron Lake Bioenergy.
The students, all 12th graders from Worthington High School’s senior agriculture class, were briefed on the various processes of ethanol production at Heron Lake Bioenergy, which produces 65 million gallons of ethanol a year.
The tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Biofuels), a nonprofit trade association which represents the state ethanol industry.
“These tours highlight the process of converting a homegrown renewable ingredient into clean energy,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the MN Biofuels.
Heron Lake Bionenergy first began producing ethanol in 2007 and currently has 42 employees.
Deb Martin, agriculture instructor for Worthington High school accompanied her students for today’s tour.
“I think it’s a great tour because it’s fast-paced and there are lots of things for the kids to see and feel. Getting to talk to the people actually doing the job makes it more interesting for the kids. In addition, the people working with the kids are very friendly and down to earth which makes it easier for the kids to interact,” she said.
This is the third time Worthington High School has toured Heron Lake Bioenergy, previously touring in the spring of both 2017 and 2018.
“I would like to make this a regular part of my Ag 12 class. It is something the kids look forward to because they hear about it from the upperclassmen. The tour that the ethanol industry provides is a great learning opportunity for students; it also promotes a positive image in the community by their willingness to share what they do with the public,” Martin said.