The world’s first corn cob ammonia plant

Farmers who were struck high with fertilizer price in the past 12-24 months might cheer at this news about California-based SynGest planning to construct the world’s first corn biomass-based ammonia plant in Menlo, Iowa.

TheSynGest Menlo plant will use 150,000 tons/year of Iowa corn cobs toproduce 50,000 tons/year of bio-ammonia, enough to fertilize 500,000acres of Iowa corn farm, says CEO Jack Oswald. Production is expectedto begin in 2012.

The US reportedly consumes 18 million tons/year of ammonia and half of that is said to be imported.

“Thefew large ammonia plants in the U.S. are aging fast and no significantdomestic expansion is foreseen,” says Oswald. “Even a 20% shortfall inthe foreign ammonia supply chain, whether it’s accidental ordeliberate, will cause serious problems in our food industry andrelated financial markets.”

SynGest says thebio-ammonia plant concept was first created during the 80s and early90s. With the plant, not only will farmers get rid of corn cob wasteand profit from it, they’ll get [hopefully] cheaper fertilizer price inthe bargain.

A major Midwestern agribusiness is expected to workwith Syngest to supply the stover and distribute the ammonia from theIowa plant. SynGest says that company will be identified sometime thismonth.

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