Thirty students from Dawson Boyd High School visited Granite Falls Energy yesterday in Granite Falls to learn about homegrown renewable energy production. During the tour, the students learned about the various processes of ethanol production at Granite Falls Energy, which produces 64 million gallons of ethanol a year. “The ethanol industry is a vital economic driver within rural Minnesota and tours like these highlight the ethanol production process and its role in creating jobs and enhancing our environment," said Cory Heinrich, plant manager of Granite Falls Energy.

The students, from grades 9 to 12, learned about incoming grain grading, grain handling, fermentation, grain storage, combined heat and power operations, dried distiller grain production and storage, liquefaction and ethanol storage and shipment. The tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, (MN Biofuels) a non-profit trade organization that represents the ethanol industry in Minnesota. Granite Falls Energy is a member of MN Biofuels.

“It’s important for students to learn how ethanol reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, gives consumers savings at the pump and boosts Minnesota’s economy while making America more energy independent,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of MN Biofuels. Granite Falls Energy began operations in November 2005 and is comprised of over 900 investors. It currently has 42 employees.

Dawson Boyd High School’s agriculture teacher, John Shurb, said it was important for his students to understand how biofuels impact and interact with the local economy, environment and agriculture. "We really enjoyed the tour from seeing the process from when the corn comes in to when it goes out as a finished product. The impact to our local economies was interesting to hear about and we enjoyed seeing the processes the plant uses to reduce their environmental impact," he said.