EKAE, Pearson Fuels announce exclusive marketing agreement

By Pearson Fuels | December 08, 2017

East Kansas Agri-Energy of Garnett, Kansas, and Pearson Fuels of San Diego, California, announce the signing of an exclusive West Coast marketing agreement for the distribution of renewable diesel from EKAE’s recently commissioned plant in Garnett.

Renewable diesel meets the traditional diesel fuel specification while being produced from renewable feed stocks. In the case of EKAE’s Garnett plant, the feedstock is exclusively a corn distillers’ oil byproduct from its adjacent ethanol production facility. The fuel qualifies under both the “biomass-based diesel” and the “other advanced biofuels” category in meeting the federal Renewable Fuels Standard.

“Renewable Diesel is considered a drop-in replacement for diesel fuel and as such is integral to both California’s and Oregon’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard programs. EKAE’s Renewable Diesel has a 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions verses traditional diesel,” says Mike Lewis, co-founder of Pearson Fuels. “This is the newest of only a handful of domestic Renewable Diesel plants in the United States, and since the feedstock is a byproduct of ethanol production, the carbon footprint is exceptionally low. When we first became aware of the renewable diesel project in Kansas, we were impressed with the technology, but, more importantly, we were impressed with the company and the people at EKAE developing and managing this project. With Pearson’s experience in biofuel distribution in California, we knew we could work well together.”

There are more than 1 million diesel vehicles on the road in California that are capable of using renewable diesel as a drop-in fuel requiring no blending or vehicle modification whatsoever. Renewable diesel burns much cleaner than regular diesel, has a higher cetane rating, is domestically produced, and currently sells at comparable pricing to regular diesel. Pearson intends to deliver the fuel to retailers, fuel distributors, and municipalities in both California and Oregon. The first several rail cars of renewable diesel have already started shipping to these West Coast markets.

EKAE’s President and CEO Bill Pracht says, “As the first plant in the country to utilize this bolt-on Renewable Diesel technology adjacent to an operating ethanol plant, we had multiple challenges and re-starts over several years. It took quite a commitment to see the project through to completion, but now that we have achieved stable production levels, we are beginning to see the fruits of our efforts, especially now that our product is being delivered to West Coast markets that value the low carbon benefits of our fuel. We are excited to be working with Pearson Fuels on this project. They have a 15-year history on the cutting edge of alternative fuels in California and have helped pave the way for alternative fuels in the largest fuel market in the country. They have been actively promoting retail biofuels sales longer than anyone in the state and we look forward to our multi-year marketing relationship.”

Pearson Fuels has grown from one alternative fuel station opened in San Diego in 2003 to become California’s largest independently owned ethanol distributor, currently supplying over 125 flex fuel (E85) ethanol, biodiesel, and renewable diesel locations. They specialize in the development of fueling infrastructure for the distribution and sale of alternative fuels.

Founded in 2001, East Kansas Agri-Energy’s 50-million-gallon-per-year ethanol plant began full production in 2005. EKAE is the largest company and one of the largest employers in Garnett, Kansas, and has won multiple industry awards in its 12 years of ethanol plant operation. The renewable diesel plant held a ceremonial groundbreaking in November 2014 and sold its first renewable diesel gallons designated for the West Coast through its marketing agreement with Pearson Fuels in October of this year.