Friday, April 13

Friday Photography | LincolnWay Energy

This week Friday Photography takes a road trip about 3 and a half hours south from the Twin Cities to an ethanol plant outside of Ames, Iwoa. I made the trip a with a group that was part Architecture for Humanity: Minnesota and part Solutions Twin Cities (a new project of mine, but more on that later) to participate in a conference called BIGe (the little "e" was for energy), put on by the newly formed Architecture for Humanity: Iowa.

On the last day of the conference, we took a tour of the nearby LincolnWay Energy ethanol plant. As we donned our soylent green hard hats a thick fog rolled in, setting the stage for a surreal tour through the nearly year old,and still pristine, power plant. The process for making ethanol is similar to brewing beer. So much so that they actually refer to the 200 proof corn alcohol they create brew as "beer" throughout the process. Seeing vats labeled as such combined with a strong smell that unmistakably reminded me of childhood tours through the Miller Brew Plant in Milwaukee had me expecting a free sample by the end of the tour.

But enough chit chat, on to the photos!

More photos from the ethanol plant, a passive solar house we visited, and the rest of the conference (with a cameo appearance by the back of Cameron Sinclair's head!) can be viewed here.

Some bonus ethanol fun facts:

• One acre of corn can produce enough ethanol to run a car for some 72,000 miles on E-10 Unleaded.\One bushel of corn yields about 2.8 gallons of ethanol.
• A typical 40 million gallon ethanol plant creates 32 full-time jobs and generates an additional $1.2 million in tax revenue for a community.
• Ethanol production results in a net energy gain – producing 67 percent more energy than it takes to grow and process the corn into ethanol.
• Ethanol production consumed about 13 percent of the nation’s second largest corn harvest in 2005 - some 1.43 billion bushels.

Happy Friday from St. Paul, MN!