Minnesota Energy Corporation

Located in Buffalo Lake, Minnesota, USA, Minnesota Energy began start-up and production in 1997. This grass-roots ethanol facility was a farmer’s cooperative initiative to produce motor fuel grade ethanol (MFGE) for the US motor fuel market. The location of the facility gave Minnesota Energy direct access to grain storage from a nearby grain terminal, thus reducing the initial capital investment. The original design capacity of 8 million gallons per year was expanded to 10 million gallons per year prior to completion of the design phase of the project.

After several minor plant expansions and upgrades, Minnesota Energy desired to take advantage of tax credits available for a major plant expansion from 12 million gallons per year to 17.4 million gallons per year in 2002. This plant expansion was a major undertaking given that the project was constrained with a tight budget and aggressive schedule. The project added two fermenters, re-worked the cooling water system, added evaporation capacity, changed a two-bed molecular sieve into a three-bed system, and converted the single cascade distillation system into a double cascade distillation system. All of this was accomplished through an owner-managed construction with minimal detail engineering.

KATZEN provided to Minnesota Energy the process design package, equipment design and specifications, construction liaison, training and start-up services for the original design and for each of the expansions.