On The Track Or At Your Corner Station, Ethanol Fuels Offer High Octane Performance

In the auto racing world, ethanol fuels have become widely accepted as one of the best ways to get optimum performance on the track. NASCAR has been using E15 for several years and Indy-style racers use E85. Ethanol is also a popular choice for racers on the small tracks, both paved and dirt, which can be found throughout rural Minnesota.

Fiesta Speedway, at the Chippewa County Fairgrounds in Montevideo, and Viking Speedway, located at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Alexandria, are both good examples. The tracks host events featuring a number of classes of race cars:  WISSOTA Late Models, WISSOTA Modifieds, WISSOTA Midwest Mods, WISSOTA Street Stocks, WISSOTA Super Stocks, and Pure Stocks.

Local corn and soybean growers from Chippewa county will be gathering at the Fiesta Speedway on
Friday, July 20 for a special "Jam the Stands" evening at the races. Similarly, Douglas, Pope, Todd and Stearns counties will join together at Viking Speedway on Saturday, July 28 for their “…

Where Every Customer is a VIP

July is National Independent Retailer Month, so for the next couple weeks we will highlight a couple independent retailers in our state offering the renewable and locally produced ethanol fuels.

One member of the family of ethanol retailers in Minnesota is VIP Auto in Plymouth. The current owner-operator of the station, Chris Robbins, shared some insight with us about his experience as an independent retailer in the Plymouth community.

His opportunity to be in the auto service and fuel industry started with his grandfather, Jerry, who began the family’s journey as independent business owners in 1959. Chris, now a third-generation operator, is thankful for the continued partnership and support he has that comes from nearly 60 years of family experience in the industry. He states, “Basically growing up in gas station, I’ve been amazed to see the advances in technology. As a business and as a family our philosophy has always been ‘How can we make things better?’ When ethanol fuels came t…

Fueling Better in Minnesota, Thanks to POET

You see ethanol blend fuels all across Minnesota, but have you ever wondered where the ethanol is produced? In this post, we’ll look at one major ethanol producer in our state: POET Biorefining.

POET has grown from a single refinery in South Dakota to become one of the largest producers of ethanol fuel in the world with more than twenty-five plants across seven different states. Four of those POET plants are in Minnesota: one in Albert Lea (Glenville), in Bingham Lake, in Lake Crystal, and in Preston. These four Minnesota facilities have a combined output of approximately 179 million gallons of ethanol fuel every year.

The POET plants also produce other useful products such as dried distiller’s grains and corn oil (sold under the VoilĂ  brand name). Many Minnesotan ethanol plants are now recovering corn oil, which is used to make biodiesel. So the facilities are now producing two renewable fuels and a highly marketable protein-packed animal feed, all from the same bushel of corn that w…

Knee High by the Fourth of July

An ear of corn would likely make anybody’s list of top American summertime icons.  Whether its popcorn, sweet corn, or modern field corn and endless green Midwestern cornfields, it could be argued that nothing is as American as…well…corn. Today, field corn is used in thousands of products ranging from toothpaste, livestock feed, and crayons to biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and even the fireworks we see at Independence Day celebrations.

As a kid, you may have heard, “Corn must be knee high by the Fourth of July.”  A cute rhyme, but that old adage is only a quaint reminder of what lead to a good crop of 150 years ago. The field corn of today will blow past ‘knee high’ long before July, while maturing into mighty 12- to 16-foot stalks to be harvested next fall.

When the U.S. Department of Agriculture began gathering data in 1866, corn yield was about 26 bushels per acre. And that was pretty typical for the next seven decades (see USDA chart).

By the late 1930s corn double-cross hybrids were…

Journey Through Minnesota State Parks on E85

September of 2016 started a new and exciting challenge for my husband and me. While visiting family on the Minnesota-Wisconsin border, we decided to add in a weekend of camping so we booked two nights at the Minnesota Saint Croix State Park. We tent camped, hiked, and even survived an intense thunderstorm, but while preparing to canoe on the St. Croix River one afternoon, we realized we’d forgotten canoe paddles! A visit to the park’s gift shop and boat rental office quickly solved our problem. It was there where we discovered the MN State Parks Passport Club and where the real journey began.

Currently there are 77 parks and recreation areas to visit and the goal for Passport Club participants is to collect a passport stamp at every one of those 77 sites. After the fun weekend at Saint Croix, our meandering trip south toward Saint Paul took us past five more parks. Born out of that discovery was the challenge to complete the passport in one year.

Minnesota is unique in that it has so m…

A Little Bit of Bushmills

At start up in late 2005, the Bushmills Ethanol biorefinery of Atwater, Minnesota was designed with an annual production capacity of 40 million gallons of fuel ethanol. Efficiency improvements over the years since allow Bushmills to now convert about 25 million bushels of field corn into 65 million gallons of ethanol every year‒in addition to more than 164,000 tons of high-value livestock feed.

Bushmills is currently undergoing an expansion that will ultimately allow the company and its 400 farmer-owners to produce 100 million gallons, which represents an impressive 50% increase to the plant’s annual capacity.

If you drive across west-central Minnesota along U.S. Highway 12 and stop to fuel up with E15 or one of the flex fuels, such as E85 or E30, you’ll likely be purchasing gallons made with Bushmills’ locally-grown, renewable-based ethanol. That's because Bushmills is one of several Minnesota ethanol plants offering direct fuel supply to retail station partners.

Bushmills provide…

Welcome to the Biofuels Family!

In the last few weeks, at least seven new stations have been added to our retailer directory, including stations in Delano, Forest Lake, Minneapolis, Plymouth, Stacy, White Bear Lake, and Winona. All of these new additions offer E15, with two also offering higher ethanol blends like E30 and E85. It's a great time to check our station list again for your closest options.

The newest station opening is Winner Gas located at 3333 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis. This station joins four other Winner Gas stations in the metro area now offering FlexFuels!

When you're traveling in the metro and see a Winner station, their price sign will indicate whether they have ethanol blends. If you see the E85 logo, stop in to fuel up your flex fuel vehicle and check out the new dispensers!