From the beginning, White Energy’s plant in Russell, Kansas has been on the cutting edge. It was the first new ethanol plant in the nation designed and built by ICM and Fagen when it began production in 2001. Since then, strategic investments have reduced production bottlenecks and enabled the plant to nearly double its permitted production capacity.

The plant is currently one of the most cost-efficient ethanol producers in the nation. It uses a large percentage of sorghum — a less expensive alternative to corn that is readily available in central Kansas — as its primary feedstock. The sorghum is supplemented with a continual supply of starches from the company’s adjacent gluten manufacturing plant, accounting for about one-third of its ethanol. The starch supply from gluten production is an advantage that enables the plant to simultaneously increase production and lower costs.

More than 32,000 bushels of sorghum are processed at the plant each day. Within 72 hours, the grains are transformed into ethanol and related co-products through dry milling. The plant produces 142,000 gallons of ethanol each day, the bulk of which are transported by rail to domestic markets with a strong demand for clean fuel.

Another notable distinction: the Russell plant has the industry’s lowest Carbon Intensity (CI) value approved by the California Air Resource Board (CARB) and continues to invest in reducing its carbon footprint. White Energy delivers more than 50% of the plant’s production to the California market.

Mike Ernst

Plant Manager

Mike is a Kansas native who has been part of the White Energy team since the Russell, Kansas plant began operation. He literally helped build the plant and has managed its operations for more than a decade. During his tenure, ethanol production has steadily increased to more than 50 million gallons a year.

Mike manages a team of more than 30 employees at the Russell plant who take tremendous pride in their work. His team has not had a lost workday incident in more than 12 years.


The Russell plant is one of the most cost-efficient ethanol producers in the United States.