North Dakota ammonia plant joins multi-state carbon capture project

Richard Ewing

11-Jan-2022

LONDON (ICIS)–Plans for a multi-billion dollar ammonia plant in North Dakota that stalled several years ago received a boost on Monday when the facility was included in a showcase carbon capture and storage (CCS) project.

The Northern Plains Nitrogen (NPN) project has entered a partnership with Summit Carbon Solutions (SCS) for a multi-state initiative that aims to decarbonise the agriculture and biofuels industries.

Estimated to cost more $3bn, NPN is developing a world-scale blue ammonia plant near Grand Forks which will supply a range of low carbon nitrogen-based fertilizer products to farmers in “under-served markets in the northern US and Canada”.

The project site has been acquired and necessary permits have been received to begin site work, SCS said.

“NPN’s plant is being designed with the latest and most efficient production processes in the world,” said Don Pottinger, CEO of NPN.

“CCS is a significant opportunity to improve economic and environmental outcomes utilising safe and proven technologies.

“By partnering with SCS to capture, transport and permanently store carbon dioxide, we will further reduce the carbon intensity of our products. This is a great story for agriculture, and for the state of North Dakota.”

SCS is developing the largest CCS project in the world, which will have the capacity to capture and permanently store 12m tonnes/year of carbon dioxide generated by several states.

“NPN and Summit Carbon Solutions share the same goal of lowering the carbon footprint of agriculture while supporting farmers,” said Jim Pirolli, chief commercial officer of SCS, “whether that’s done by delivering sustainable fertilizer products to enhance yields or by improving access for ethanol plants across the Midwest to premium low carbon fuel markets.”

NPN will capture 500,000 tonnes/year of carbon dioxide emissions, which SCS will transport and store permanently in central North Dakota.

Last month, SCS announced development milestones for its carbon storage facilities in the state, having received state and local permits to collect 3D seismic data and begin drilling stratigraphic test wells.

NPN was founded in 2013 with the goal of building a 2,400 tonne/day ammonia plant with other associated downstream nitrogen fertilizer products such as urea and urea ammonium nitrate (UAN).

Despite several new plants in the US Gulf coming on stream since then, the project faces “several obstacles, including the need to attract additional investors”, NPN’s website notes.

“NPN cannot complete the project without significant new financial partners. Several avenues are being pursued to identify and attract additional partners.”

NPN’s website adds the project aims to launch in 2025, but such a date appears challenging given nitrogen fertilizer plants usually take at least two to three years to construct.

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