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Chapter 15: Industry/Manufacturing

15.13: Location of an Ethanol Plant at Minnedosa

“Ethanol can be produced from any biological feedstocks that contain sugar, or materials that can be converted into sugar, such as starch or cellulose. In Canada, corn and wheat are used and a large quantity of the ethanol produced is destined for use as fuel. It is used by itself or mixed with gasoline to form what has been called “gasohol” the most common blend being 10% ethanol with 90% gasoline. Because the ethanol molecule contains oxygen, it allows the engine to more completely combust the fuel, resulting in less pollution. Since ethanol is produced from plants that harness the power of the sun, ethanol is also considered a renewable fuel. A major coproduct of ethanol production is distiller’s grains (DGs), a high protein product ideally suited for feeding cattle. The DG can be either dried and marketed broadly or sold wet for use in nearby feedlots. Low grain prices, concern about climate change and changing political will have increased interest in fuel ethanol. However, the Husky Energy ethanol production facility at Minnedosa has been in operation for over 20 years. The 10 million litre capacity, wheat-based plant uses approximately 30,000 tonnes of grain annually.”[i]

The photo shows the western part of Minnedosa 1, located in the valley of the west-flowing Little Saskatchewan River 2. The ethanol plant 3 is located west of town on the north side of the Little Saskatchewan River. Nothing on the photo indicates that it is an ethanol plant. However, it is located on a railway line 4 that has many rail cars 5 on it, and it is located in a suitable wheat growing area. A similar building is located north of the railway line 6. At the date the photo was taken, the buiding was a distillery; it was not until 1980 that it became an ethanol plant that was taken over by Husky in 2000.

Other things to notice on the photo are 1) the Little Saskatchewan River has numerous cutoffs 7; 2) PTH 10 8 bypasses the town to the west and intersects PR 355 9; 3) the CP railway line runs through Minnedosa 10 and angles up the steep north side of the Little Saskatchewan valley 11; 4) a spur from the main line leads to the ethanol plant 12, and a round house 13 is located near the junction of the two lines; 5) the spur line used to continue west to the edge of the photo, but now it does not cross PTH 10 14 and PR 355 15, nor is there a bridge across the river 16 although the line can be seen on both sides 17; 6) a racetrack is located in the western part of Minnedosa 18; and 7) two gravel pits can be seen, one in the southwest 19 and the other north of the ethanol plant 20.

Figure 15.13: Location of an Ethanol Plant at Minnedosa

Figure 15.13: Location of an Ethanol Plant at Minnedosa

Figure 15.13

Vertical air photograph: A21434-44

Flight height: 9850 feet a.s.l.; lens focal length: 6 inches

Scale: 1:16,200 (approx.)

Date: June 3, 1970

Location: Township 15; Range 18WI

Map sheets: 1:250,000 62J Neepawa

1:50,000 62J/5 Clanwilliam


[i] Information taken from Fueling a New Economy: Exploring the Opportunities of Ethanol Production in Manitoba. Winnipeg: Keewatin Publications, 2006.