Kansas Drops QuikTrip Ethanol Plan for Wichita

Would have funded pumps at 38 area stations; chain says deal never went beyond talks

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

WICHITA, Kansas -- A proposed project to make ethanol fuels such as E85 available at gas stations in the Wichita, Kansas, market has been abandoned, according to a report by the Wichita Business Journal. The report named QuikTrip as the chain that would have been involved.

The state of Kansas pitched the project, among others, to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in July. The state was looking to make use of stimulus funds that it didn't think it could spend on the Efficiency Kansas program, the report said.

The plan, as outlined in a proposal provided to the newspaper by the DOE, was to use $5 million of federal stimulus dollars on a project to install flexible-fuel pumps at 38 Wichita-area QuikTrip locations. POET Ethanol Products Inc. would invest almost $10 million and would help with the conversion, the report said, citing the application.

The Kansas Department of Commerce said Tuesday in a news release: "The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) oversaw the approval of both projects with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. DOE originally approved a third project, which would have installed flex-pumps for alternative fuel blends at a retail gas station chain in Wichita, but the company decided not to pursue the project because of uncertain regulatory requirements not related to ARRA funding."

QuikTrip spokesperson Mike Thornbrugh told CSP Daily News that a formal plan was never in place. "There was talk about it, but we have never applied for or agreed to do anything," he said. "QuikTrip has never met with anybody from the state of Kansas, nor have we asked the state of Kansas for anything."

The state will use the $20.5 million in unspent stimulus funds for two other energy projects, the report said.