Land purchased for development of biodiesel plant

AgTech OS’s biodiesel plant will be built outside the Pullman city limits through public and private dollars.



This project has been years in the making.

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen news co-editor

The Port of Whitman County has approved funding to help startup company AgTech OS work on a biodiesel plant outside the Pullman city limits.

A biodiesel plant is a production facility with the purpose of manufacturing “a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement that can be used in existing diesel engines without modification,” according to

Brian Kraft, chief technology officer for AgTech OS, said the point of the biodiesel plant is to generate new markets in the community that work well with traditional farming operations.

“What we’re structured to do and part of our long-term plan is we’re going to be an off-the-grid biodiesel manufacturer,” Kraft said.

Kraft said the biodiesel plant has been a project years in the making. Once completed, the plant will create at least 44 direct jobs.

“The long-term growth and proposition for the company are to take this same model and essentially franchise it to other communities,” Kraft said. “This is really about improving the economics of farming and improving the community around farming.”

If everything goes as planned, operations of the plant will be phased in at the beginning of this summer, Kraft said. The plant will be funded through both public and private money, although the exact breakdown of how much from both is not known yet.

He said the plant will be built on Wawawai Road just west of the Pullman city limits. The area of the land is a few hundred acres.

Sarah Highfield, Port of Whitman County communications director, said AgTech OS will be the anchor tenant for the biodiesel plant. The Port of Whitman County hopes to fill the rest of the vacancies on the land in the fall.

“Originally AgTech OS approached the port looking for land for their facilities,” Highfield said. “That’s when the port decided to pursue this curb loan and see if a more suitable property could be found within Whitman County.  An economic analysis was performed recently and that analysis found that it would sustain about 44 direct jobs once it’s fully operational. The total contribution would be more to the tune of 964 jobs.” 

Highfield said the Port’s contribution to the building of the biodiesel plant is about $6.25 million, which will pay for the purchase of the land and the development of the plant.

At the moment, there is not a set completion date for the plant, she said. 

“It’s all based on when the port can have the property zoned and have utilities constructed,” she said. “Right now it’s really a developing project and it’s hard to put an exact date on it.”

Highfield said the Port will continue to keep the city updated on the progress of the plant’s development.

Kraft said that the project is important to the community and is not damaging to the environment, but he acknowledged that some Pullman residents might be cynical toward a new business opening outside the city.

“We’re trying to set up right on the edge of Pullman. There are reasons why that’s tough,” Kraft said. “I think people look at that and say ‘oh, an industrial operation,’ and yes, we’re going to be an industrial operation, but we’re going to be incredibly green.”