Bakken Energy to purchase synfuels plant and convert to blue hydrogen production as part of $2B hydrogen hub project
Energy infrastructure developer Bakken Energy (Bakken) has reached agreement with Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) on key terms and conditions to purchase the assets of the Dakota Gasification Company (Dakota Gas), a subsidiary of Basin Electric, and the owner of the Great Plains Synfuels Plant. The closing is subject to the satisfaction of specified conditions and expected to be completed by 1 April 2023.
Located near Beulah, North Dakota, the Synfuels Plant will be transformed into the largest and lowest-cost, blue hydrogen production facility in the United States. In June 2021, Bakken and Mitsubishi Power Americas (Mitsubishi) entered into a strategic partnership to create a world-class clean hydrogen hub in North Dakota to produce, store, transport, and locally capture and sequester carbon (CO2).
The Synfuels Plant facility will form the nucleus of a clean energy hub designed to advance regional, national, and global decarbonization objectives through the development of clean hydrogen applications for the agriculture, power, and transportation sectors.
The Synfuels Plant is an established, large-scale producer of synthetic fuels and provides the existing infrastructure and processes required to accelerate its transformation into the largest and lowest-cost producer of low-carbon clean hydrogen and ammonia in the United States. This transformation will be greatly facilitated by the Synfuels Plant workforce of experienced personnel.
Bakken says that new, world-class clean hydrogen production facilities generally require up to 10 years to begin producing hydrogen and to develop regional infrastructure and applications. The redevelopment of the Synfuels Plant will cut this time in half and produce an estimated 310,000 metric tons of hydrogen per year. This production will use locally sourced feedstock and employ established production and carbon capture processes.
The project will use advanced ATR (autothermal reforming) hydrogen production technology and capture 95% of the carbon emissions. ATR technology was selected over steam methane reformation (SMR) and other technologies to maximize CO2 capture rates and repurposing of existing Synfuels Plant infrastructure and processes.
The North Dakota Hydrogen Hub is expected to be commercially operational in late 2026 with a redevelopment budget for the broader hub including carbon capture and sequestration and hydrogen storage exceeding $2 billion.
As part of the agreement between Basin Electric and Bakken the Synfuels Plant will continue existing operations through 2025. The transformation of the existing facility and subsequent operations of the redeveloped clean hydrogen production facility will require the same level of highly skilled employees.