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Benson Schools awarded an $80,000 federal grant for renewable energy lab

BENSON -- Benson Public Schools will receive an $80,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor for construction of a renewable energies lab in the district.

Superintendent Lee Westrum said this afternoon the district was awarded an $80,000 Renewable Energy Marketplace grant from the federal Department of Labor. The grant will be used for building a benchtop ethanol plant for the high school's science department.

Westrum said the district applied for the grant Jan. 5 after forming a grant-mandatory partnership with the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company in Benson.

"We're going to grind up the corn and come up with an end product," Westrum said. "Do the whole science of ethanol and renewable energy."

The district should receive the grant within the next month, Westrum said, and the district hopes to have the ethanol lab constructed and ready for use by high school science students in the fall.

Read more about Benson Public School's federal grant and renewable energies lab in Thursday's edition of the Tribune.