News Releases

Oct 01, 2010

General Mills and Koda Energy named finalists for Minnesota Tekne Award


Companies’ collaboration in the running to receive Innovative Collaboration of the Year Award

The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) has named General Mills and Koda Energy as finalists in the Innovation Collaboration of the Year category for the 2010 Tekne Awards. The Tekne Awards recognize Minnesota companies and individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership.

Over the years General Mills has tried a number different uses for the oat hulls left over from milling flour for cereals, such as Cheerios.  In 2009 General Mills began supplying oat hulls from its Fridley and Minneapolis mills to Shakopee, Minn.-based Koda Energy’s 100 percent biomass-powered plant. The relationship has thrived, and the plant now receives oat hulls and creates enough electricity to power 20,000 homes and enough thermal to heat 12,000 homes.  The partnership keeps the hulls out of a landfill and provides Koda Energy with a steady source of clean, efficient biomass to burn.

“Years ago when we first ran tests to use this byproduct as a biofuel, we found that oat hulls had 80 percent of the energy value of coal,” says Susan Sobieck, a Commodity Merchandiser for General Mills. “We have a great long-term partner in Koda Energy and hope this renewable energy project will encourage other companies to pursue similar partnerships.”

Koda Energy is an innovative combined heat and power plant which generates electricity and heat by burning agricultural byproducts and grown energy crops to create steam, which generates energy in the form of electricity. The project gets its name from the word “Koda” which means "friend" in the Dakota Language. Koda Energy, which burns a unique blend of exclusively natural, non-manmade materials, is a joint partnership of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and Rahr Malting.

The Tekne Awards annually recognize Minnesota’s best and brightest technology users and developers in innovation, development, education, commercialization and management. A full list of finalists is available online at

Recipients of the 2010 Tekne Awards will be announced at an award ceremony on Nov. 3.

About General Mills
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.

For more information, contact:

Maerenn Jepsen
General Mills