One byproduct made from local ethanol production at the Denco II plant is distiller’s dried grains, which comes after the fermentation process. As Denco and members of the Morris Model team promote December as local E-85 Challenge Month to raise awareness and promote more usage of the high octane, energy effficient fuel, Lee Johnston of the West Central Research and Outreach Center told the KMRS Community Connection of the ongoing studies they have done on using the byproducts as feed for livestock.
“The University of Minnesota for many years was the leader in research in how to use distiller’s dried grain with swine,” said Johnston. “We built quite a database. Many other universities and industry partners have found that basically distiller’s grain is a staple in swine diets in the Upper Midwest now.”
Initial efforts were focused on using the leftover grains as wet cattle feed. But in the early 2000s, said Johnston, they discovered a drying technique that allowed for easier transport nationally and efforts to introduce the feed to swine. The Denco facility utilizes corn from about 500 local farmers to make their fuel. E-85 is available for purchase at the Shell Food Shop, Jerry’s U-Save, and the Morris and Hancock Coop Cenex.