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Morris Area students tour Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co.

Thirty-five students from Morris Area High School toured the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) plant today to get a better understanding of homegrown renewable fuel production. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Biofuels Association

Thirty-five students from Morris Area High School toured the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company (CVEC) plant on Nov. 6 to get a better understanding of homegrown renewable fuel production.

The students, from grades nine to 12, toured the various stages and processes of ethanol production at CVEC, which produces 50 million gallons of ethanol a year, a news release from the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association said.

"We regularly host school tours at CVEC. It's important for students to understand the deep role science plays in ethanol production," Chad Friese, CEO of CVEC, said in the release.

The students that participated in today's tour were from two separate classes - Introductory Chemistry and Rec Vehicles — at Morris Area High School. During the tour, they learned about including incoming grain grading, grain handling, fermentation, grain storage, dried distiller grain production and storage, ethanol storage and shipment.

The tour was organized by the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association, a non-profit trade organization that represents the ethanol industry in Minnesota. CVEC is a member of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

"Tours like these showcase how a homegrown renewable ingredient is converted into a clean fuel that continues to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

"The ethanol industry also plays a very important role in driving the economy in rural Minnesota and today's tour gave the students a better idea of career opportunities in the ethanol industry," said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

CVEC is an ethanol production cooperative that commenced operations in 1996 and currently has 50 employees. CVEC has hosted many tours of its facilities over the years for high school students, 4-H'ers, and local agriculture and science programs.

Morris Area High School teachers, Nick Milbrandt and Dylan Viss, accompanied their students during today's tour. Milbrandt and Viss teach agriculture and science respectively at Morris High School.

"Allowing my students to go on this tour enabled them to see and experience real-life, practical applications of the science and chemical processes highlighted in our class," Viss said.

Milbrandt, meanwhile, said the tour allowed for a better understanding of the many benefits of using biofuels, which are also discussed in his course curriculum.

"By participating in this tour my students got the opportunity to see how ethanol is made and the real life process of how it can go from corn to fuel," Milbrandt said.

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