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Comment Sustainability

Monolith plans carbon-free ammonia production plant

By Scott Jenkins |

Monolith Materials (Lincoln, Neb.; www.monolithmaterials.com), a leader in clean energy and chemical production, today announced it plans to use its proprietary process to produce approximately 275,000 metric tons per year of carbon-free anhydrous ammonia in the United States. Current ammonia production practices account for approximately 1 percent of total global greenhouse gas emissions, or roughly the equivalent of the total emissions of the United Kingdom.

Monolith Materials, which was founded in 2012, invented and developed a process technology that converts natural gas into a material called carbon black and clean hydrogen. Monolith Materials is in the commissioning stages of Olive Creek 1 (OC1), its first commercial-scale carbon-free production facility which is designed to produce approximately 14,000 metric tons of carbon black per year. With the next phase of its facilities, the company plans to use the hydrogen generated via its manufacturing process to cleanly produce ammonia and potentially a wide array of other products that require hydrogen.

Anhydrous ammonia, the building block for essentially all nitrogen fertilizer, is used by a wide variety of industries. Eighty percent of ammonia produced is utilized by the agriculture industry in fertilizer to help sustain food production for billions of people around the world. In the United States, the “Corn Belt”, stretching from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska and neighboring states, imports over 1.7 million metric tons of ammonia. Monolith is focused on providing locally sourced, clean anhydrous ammonia.

Monolith Materials’ carbon-free ammonia bonds Turquoise Hydrogen with nitrogen from the air using the Haber-Bosch process. Turquoise Hydrogen is derived using methane pyrolysis to split the methane molecules into carbon and hydrogen. The process generates no CO2.  Monolith projects that it will create 3 metric tons of cleanly made, valuable carbon black for every 1 metric 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,” said Trevor Brown, executive director, Ammonia Energy Association. “We need to deploy every available technology to accelerate this energy transition and Monolith’s methane pyrolysis process has potential to deliver low-carbon ammonia in the right place at the right scale and at the right cost.” 

Combined, Monolith Materials’ carbon-free ammonia and carbon black production are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 1 million metric tons per year compared to traditional manufacturing processes. Monolith Materials’ ammonia production facility will integrate with a new, 180,000 metric tons-per-year carbon black production facility known as Olive Creek 2 (OC2). Like the current OC1 facility, OC2 will be located in Hallam, Nebraska near many of the nation’s largest agricultural companies and run on 100% renewable electricity.  Monolith expects construction on the new facility to begin in 2021.

Monolith Materials is a next–generation chemical and energy company that uses renewable electricity as part of a proprietary process to convert natural gas to carbon black and hydrogen in an environmentally advantaged manner.

 

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