Middle East and African officials get up-close look at Minnesota-made ethanol

Fifteen Middle Eastern and African high-level officials visited Minnesota last week for a comprehensive tour of Minnesota’s ethanol industry. The group toured everything from the farm to the pump as they explore ethanol to meet biofuel goals in their home countries.

The delegation included members from Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi and Jordan. Each traveled to Minnesota from Washington, D.C., where they attended the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Global Ethanol Summit. The two-day event brought more than 400 attendees from 60 countries together to promote the environmental, human health and economic benefits of ethanol.

The Minnesota Corn Growers Association worked with USGC to organize the follow-up tour for an up-close look at ethanol production and infrastructure.

The group began in Eyota at Kwik Trip to learn more about the distribution and blending of ethanol-blended fuels before heading to Flint Hills Refinery in Inver Grove Heights. Meg Corp’s Hoon Ge and Kelly Marczak ended the day with a dive into the technical details of ethanol-blended fuels.

The group headed back out to Minnesota farm country on day two of the tour, beginning with Dooley’s Petroleum in Willmar. There, the group learned about the distribution of ethanol-blended fuels. The group then toured Granite Falls Energy ethanol plant for a look at the production process. Final stop of the tour was the Wood Lake farm of Brian Velde to see the sustainable practices used in the growing of corn as a feedstock.

The two-day tour was an excellent opportunity to promote what makes Minnesota a national leader in ethanol-blended fuels. As countries turn to biofuels to help meet environmental goals, Minnesota and other ethanol-producing states could be a valuable trade partner.

“This impressive group of ethanol leaders are in the U.S. to learn how U.S. ethanol contributes to meeting their biofuels goals including increasing environmental, human health and economic benefits not only in their respective countries, but around world,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC president and CEO. “Concerns about the environment, air quality and human health have led governments to find renewable contributions to transportation fuel and our hope is by learning more, these decision makers will see the United States as their partner in meeting these needs.”

Kwik Trip’s Joel Fasnacht leads the group through the station’s blending site.
Dooley’s CEO Randy Dooley answered questions from the delegation.
Granite Falls Energy Production Manager Tony Malmquist leads the tour of the plant.
The group visited the Wood Lake farm of Brian Velde.

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