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Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company gets $150K for corn cob ethanol project

ST. PAUL -- Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce Office of Energy Security for the ethanol plant's evaluation of corn cob biomass energy systems.

The grant was one of 10 grants, totaling $2.1 million, awarded to renewable energy projects around the state. The grant money is in addition to the $100,000 granted to CVEC by the Minnesota Corn Research and Promotion Council and the Agricultural Utilization and Research Institute of Minnesota in March.

According to the department of commerce, the project includes evaluation of equipment used to collect corn cobs as a source of process heating fuels for the plant. The project will use two commercially available cob collection systems to harvest at least 5,000 acres. Evaluation will include comprehensive use and cost comparisons of the systems, cob storage, transport and utilization in two biomass gasifiers; one at CVEC and the other at the University of Minnesota, Morris. In addition to these measurements, an outreach packet for farmers, including a video and how-to guidelines, will be produced.

"Americanizing our energy sources begins with homegrown ideas," Governor Tim Pawlenty said. "These Minnesota projects represent the next steps in developing a cleaner, better, and more secure energy future."

The grants fund Next Generation Energy projects that will promote the development of cellulosic ethanol and advanced biomass energy technologies in the state. In addition to the renewable energy, many of the grantees will focus on the economic viability of new technology and how it can be used for large scale operations.