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Wind powers new Minnesota ethanol plant

12/05/2006 @ 3:04pm

Corn Plus Cooperative, a farmer-owned ethanol plant in Winnebago, Minnesota, is entering into a co-development relationship with John Deere to harness wind energy to help power their plant. When the wind farm is up and running at capacity, approximately 45% of the electric energy demand for the plant will be supplied by wind energy.

Corn Plus was the first dry mill ethanol plant in Minnesota, and it's already undergone an expansion and other upgrades in the last few years to make it more energy efficient.

"High fuel costs were cutting into the plant's profit margins and something had to be done," says Keith Kor, general manager of Corn Plus. "We collaborated with Alliant Energy and installed a unique, fluidized bed reactor that burns biomass products to create steam to run the plant. This process reduces natural gas usage by 50% to 60%."

The success of their collaboration with Alliant Energy paved the way for Corn Plus to enter into another relationship, one with John Deere Wind Energy. This project, called CP Wind Farm, LLC, is being developed by Renewable Energy Solutions in conjunction with John Deere, and will feature the placement of two 2.1-megawatt wind turbines in close proximity to the ethanol plant.

Corn Plus Cooperative, a farmer-owned ethanol plant in Winnebago, Minnesota, is entering into a co-development relationship with John Deere to harness wind energy to help power their plant. When the wind farm is up and running at capacity, approximately 45% of the electric energy demand for the plant will be supplied by wind energy.