Great Plains Synfuels Plant produces record tons of anhydrous ammonia in 2022

The Great Plains Synfuels Plant near Beulah, North Dakota, saw the highest annual anhydrous ammonia production on record in 2022. The last record production occurred in 2020.

Improvements made in the facility over several years have improved the capacity and availability of the unit, said Aaron Marquardt, Dakota Gas fertilizer section manager. Engineers, maintenance and operators have worked together to replace and/or upgrade many pieces of equipment that historically had reliability issues, including the feed gas heater convection section, the synthesis gas compressor, the ammonia compressor/turbine, the waste heat boiler, and amine absorber. In addition, the syn loop piping was upgraded and work was done to improve how high-temperature piping is monitored.

“Especially since the addition of the urea plant in 2018, fertilizer demand and pricing has made the ammonia plant a critical part of the overall plant economics, providing an opportunity to make investments in that unit to improve reliability,” Dale Johnson, Basin Electric vice president and Synfuels Plant manager, said. “In the past few years, our staff has done a great job of identifying the weak links in the unit and systematically replacing or improving them. This has included using some innovative thinking to install equipment that has proven to be far more reliable and often more efficient that the equipment that was replaced. The production record that was achieved this year proves that everyone’s efforts have been effective.”

Another factor that contributed to higher production was there was no scheduled ammonia plant outage in 2022.