Biomaterials and Fuels

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Fueling Green Growth and Innovation

Minnesota is recognized nationwide as a leading producer of biofuels. 

We were the first state in the nation to require a 5-percent biodiesel blend in most diesel fuels, we rank first in the number of gas pumps (314) offering E85 (2014) and fourth in ethanol production capacity with more than 1.1 billion gallons (2013). 

And we fuel energy innovation in other important ways. Fibrominn Biomass Power Plant, for example, is the first operating poultry litter plant in the country, produces 55 megawatts annually of carbon neutral renewable energy, enough to power about 40,000 homes.

Leading Biofuels and Biomaterials Companies 

In addition to fuels, our companies produce everything from clothing, bottles, films, packaging and textiles made from renewable polymers to isobutanol, a versatile chemical for the liquid fuels and petrochemical market.

Key biofuels and biomaterials companies include:

  • Cargill: Bio-industrial products

  • 3M: Bio-materials

  • Advanced BioEnergy LLC: Ethanol

  • Highwater Ethanol LLC: Ethanol

  • Minnesota Soybeans Processors: Bio-Diesel

  • Green Plains: Ethanol

  • Valero Renewable Fuels: Biofuels

  • Granite Falls Energy LLC: Ethanol

  • Gevo: Isobutanol

  • NatureWorks: Apparel, bottles, food packing

  • Fibrominn: Biomass

  • StarchTech, Inc.: Biodegradable packing

Sources: Hoovers Database, company websites

R&D Partnership Opportunities

The potential for collaboration and partnership in the research, development and commercialization of biomaterials and biofuels is tremendous. The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities was awarded nearly $850,000 in research grants by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to spur production of bioenergy and biobased products that will lead to the development of sustainable regional systems (2012). The Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering's research and academic programs at the University of Minnesota are at the forefront of discovery. The core areas are bioprocessing, environmental and ecological engineering, food production and advanced building systems and energy efficiency.