Diversification is key

Tar oil production began and the addition of another fertilizer project are two examples of continued product development at the Synfuels Plant.

With the addition of a tar oil stripper in 2014, Dakota Gas has the option of selling product into the tar oil and carbon black markets, furthering diversification at the facility.

Construction of a urea fertilizer production and carbon dioxide liquefaction facility at the Great Plains Synfuels Plant began in 2014 and continues on schedule for commercial operation in the second quarter of 2017.

Urea is a granular fertilizer commonly used in agricultural applications. Dakota Gas currently produces two other fertilizers, anhydrous ammonia and ammonium sulfate (DakSul 45®).

Urea production requires anhydrous ammonia and carbon dioxide, both of which are produced at the Synfuels Plant. Urea has the highest nitrogen content of all solid fertilizers, but costs less to handle, store and transport than other nitrogen-based fertilizers. It is also safer to transport and handle than anhydrous ammonia.

The project includes construction of a storage facility that can hold about 53,000 tons of granular urea, as well as a new load-out facility for trucks and railcars with the capacity to load up to 110 railcars in a single shipment.

The project is slated for completion in the spring of 2017 when 1,100 tons of urea daily will be produced, with the ability to shift urea production to produce diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). DEF is used to reduce NOx emissions in diesel engines, as mandated by the federal government on all new diesel engines. A 1.1-million gallon stainless steel storage tank will be constructed at the plant to store the DEF. The plant will also be able to produce liquefied carbon dioxide.