LINCOLN, Neb.—Monolith Materials revealed plans to set up a facility in Hallem, Neb., to produce about 275,000 metric tons a year of carbon-free anhydrous ammonia.
The new facility will be integrated with a second carbon black facility the company is working on in Hallem, according to a company news release.
"Since its inception, Monolith Materials has been committed to developing solutions that are environmentally transformative, technologically advanced and financially viable," said Rob Hanson, company CEO and co-founder.
The Lincoln-based firm was founded in 2012 and developed a technology it claimed converts natural gas into carbon black and clean hydrogen. Monolith is in the process of bringing its first carbon black facility in Hallem—dubbed Olive Creek 1—on line to produce about 14,000 metric tons of carbon black each year.
Monolith said the second facility, known as Olive Creek 2, will have capacity to make 180,000 tons a year of carbon black. When this plant is operational, the company said it plans to use the hydrogen generated from its manufacturing process to produce the clean ammonia and potentially other products that use hydrogen.
The firm said it expects construction on Olive Creek 2 to begin in 2021 and start producing carbon black in 2024.
Monolith said that anhydrous ammonia is the building block for most nitrogen fertilizer, used by a wide variety of industries, and that 80 percent of the ammonia produced is used by the agriculture industry in fertilizer. It said the "Corn Belt" in the U.S. imports more than 1.7 million tons of ammonia each year.
It said its carbon-free ammonia bonds are known as Turquoise Hydrogen with nitrogen from the air using the Haber-Bosch process. The Turquoise Hydrogen is made using methane pyrolysis to split the methane molecules into carbon and hydrogen, generating no carbon dioxide in the mix. Monolith projects it will be able to produce 3 tons of carbon black for every ton of hydrogen it produces.
"This is great news for 21st century agriculture, where we face the challenge of decarbonizing age-old processes at the same time as we must scale-up production to keep pace with population growth," Trevor Brown, executive director of the Ammonia Energy Association, said in a statement.
Monolith did not release its expected investment in the project.