The Principals of ETA have participated in the design and development of large-scale chemical process projects with a focus on hydrogen and ammonia production, including the Power County Advanced Energy Center (PCAEC) in Idaho, and the CF Industries ammonia conversion project in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. This case study highlights the PCAEC, which was managed by ETA members through their development company, Refined Energy Holdings, and funded by two private equity funds managed by NY based D.E. Shaw Group and Goldman Sachs. The PCAEC showcases ETA’s ability to develop projects based on the integration of multiple commercial technologies to convert low-cost feedstocks to high-value commodities that include hydrogen, ammonia, ammonia-derived fertilizers, Fischer Tropsch-derived fuels, and noble gases. The PCAEC was also developed to capture and sequester carbon dioxide, which became a condition of the project’s air permit.
Advantaged by high-cost transportation and limited regional supply, ETA Principals successfully developed this project to produce 3,400 metric tons per day of ammonia and ammonia derived fertilizer products in southeast Idaho. The project was conceived as a gasification process, where feedstocks (fossil and a blend of biomass) would be gasified into syngas and “shifted” to maximize hydrogen production. The hydrogen served as a primary feedstock to synthesize ammonia, with a slip stream to produce Fischer Tropsch waxes.
During the two-year development process, ETA Principals evaluated commercial technology offerings from General Electric, Conoco Phillips, Lurgi, Shell, Casale, Uhde, GPN, Linde, UOP, Rentech, Syntroleum, and others. Our proprietary model integrated the various technologies to balance mass and energy for efficient low-cost production of fertilizers centrally located in one of the largest agricultural regions of North America. Key components to the project were the production of pure hydrogen, and the sequestration of carbon dioxide. During the environmental permitting process, ETA Principals successfully negotiated a settlement agreement with the Sierra Club and local environmental organizations to receive a final, unappealable PSD permit and other associated entitlements. Refined Energy Holdings subsequently sold all project rights/assets to a NY based infrastructure fund.