Food to fuel

Posted on February 19th, 2009 by

On a chilly day in January, a group of Gustavus students visited an innovative ethanol plant in Winnebago, MN, to learn more about the process of creating ethanol from corn. We had read a critical account of the American corn industry in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and now were interested in hearing about corn from the perspective of a relatively small, largely farmer-owned ethanol business.

This ethanol plant, Corn Plus, meets some of its electricity needs via two wind turbines next to the plant.

This ethanol plant, Corn Plus, meets some of its electricity needs via two wind turbines next to the plant.

Trucks haul the corn to the plant where it is transformed into ethanol.

Trucks haul the corn to the plant where it is transformed into ethanol.

A sample of the corn at the "wet cake" stage.

A sample of the corn at the "wet cake" stage.

Our tour guide shows us the plant's lab.

Our tour guide shows us the plant's lab.

Wow! So this is how corn is transformed into ethanol!

Wow!

 

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