Great Plains Synfuels Plant

Location: Five miles northwest of Beulah, North Dakota.

Plant description: Great Plains Synfuels Plant is the only commercial-scale coal gasification plant in the United States that manufactures natural gas.

Produces about 160 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, plus by-products such as phenol, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium sulfate, cresylic acid, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, naphtha and krypton/xenon. The Great Plains Synfuels Plant is part of the world’s largest CO2 capture and sequestration project.

Production capability: The average daily production is about 160 million cubic feet of natural gas, the majority of which is piped to Ventura and Harper, Iowa, for distribution in the eastern United States. Many byproducts are also produced and marketed in the United States and worldwide.

Fuel source: Great Plains Synfuels Plain daily consumes about 18,000 tons of lignite supplied from the nearby Freedom Mine. The mine is owned and operated by The Coteau Properties Company.

Plant history: The $2.1 billion plant began operating in 1984. Using the Lurgi process, the Sunfuels Plant gasifies the lignite coal to valuable gases and liquids.

Environmental highlights: The Synfuels Plant features a unique flue gas desulfurization unit - or scubber - that began operating in 1996. The scrubber is unusual because it uses anhydrous ammonia as the scrubbing reagent, producing a valuable fertilizer instaead of a waste product.