Celebrating National Bioenergy Day

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Did you know organic material like forest thinnings and manure from farm animals is a great source of energy? It’s called bioenergy and can be used to power heating, cooling, and generate electricity -- and at Koda Energy in Shakopee, Minnesota, that’s exactly what’s being done!

Koda Energy’s story is so fantastic the company was featured in this year’s video for National Bioenergy Day, check it out!

At Koda Energy, barley leftovers, urban wood waste and oat hulls from General Mills are burned to generate electricity and heat. One company that benefits from this heat and electricity generation is Koda Energy’s neighbor, Rahr Malting, which produces malt for a plethora of breweries in the state as well as across the country. (Read more about Koda Energy’s operations on our blog here.)

Our team at Clean Energy Economy MN visited Koda on October 24, to celebrate the Sixth Annual National Bioenergy Day. We had the chance to set up a booth and talk with visitors to the plant about bioenergy’s contributions to the clean energy economy. Bioenergy provides thousands of jobs in rural communities and a way to manage agricultural, paper mill, and forest debris that would otherwise remain on the forest floor or be landfilled. Biomass facilities in Minnesota also are providing a way to safely dispose, and defray some of the processing costs, of trees infected by emerald ash borer (EAB), which is affecting thousands of trees across the state.

At the event we also visited with many bioenergy stakeholders including Senator Eric Pratt (R-Prior Lake), USDA Forest Service, Agricultural Utilization Resources Institute (AURI), Minnesota Energy Consortium, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, and BSG craft brewing. BSG distributes the malt produced at Rahr Malting corporation to breweries like Bad Weather Brewing in St. Paul and Indeed Brewing Company in Minneapolis. Event attendees were able to take a bioenergy tour to see Koda Energy and Rahr Malting’s state-of-the-art facilities, and learn why Koda Energy is named one of the most efficient energy facilities in the United States.