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SynGest Selects The Weitz Company to Build First Biomass-to-Ammonia Plant
Construction to begin Spring 2010 and completed Fall 2011
San Francisco, California – (Jun 30, 2009) – SynGest, Inc. announced that it has chosen The Weitz Company to provide engineering, procurement and construction services (EPC) for its first plant to manufacture BioAmmonia (anhydrous ammonia) fuel and fertilizer from corn cob biomass. The new facility will be located near Menlo, Iowa, 45 miles west of Des Moines. With the addition of Weitz, SynGest has finalized the project team and is moving diligently toward construction and operations.
“Weitz is the largest construction employer in the State of Iowa, has an immaculate reputation and a track record of success in building advanced biofuels/bioproducts facilities”, said Jack Oswald, CEO of SynGest. “We are thrilled that Weitz will be our construction partner.”
The SynGest plant will process 130,000 tons of locally supplied corn cobs annually to manufacture 50,000 tons of bio-ammonia, enough to fertilize 500,000 acres of nearby corn farmland.
Ammonia, used as nitrogen fertilizer, is critical to the food supply in the USA. Today, more than half is imported. The largest exporters are Trinidad/Tobago and Russia, known for interrupting critical commodity supplies for political gains. The few remaining large ammonia plants in the U.S. are aging and no significant domestic expansion is foreseen. SynGest’s facility will be the first new ammonia production plant to be built on American soil since the decline of traditional U.S.-based production began more than five years ago as energy prices started to rise. It is widely recognized that fossil fuel-based production methods will likely never be re-built in America.
“The SynGest BioAmmonia project represents a rare opportunity to be in on the ground floor of re-building a critical American industry”, said Greg O’Gary, President, Weitz Industrial Services Group LLC. “The only way to rebuild this critical industry, to protect our food security, is to rapidly expand production using new renewable technologies such as the one developed by SynGest.”
Pre-construction design, engineering, permitting, and environmental assessment are well under way. The SynGest/Weitz team is targeting site preparation in Fall 2009 with construction beginning in Spring 2010. The new plant is expected to be fully operational by Fall 2011.
SynGest’s engineering program is headed by Dr. Ravi Randhava, CTO. He is also President of Unitel Technologies and a co-founder of the Xytel Group, including a joint venture with Bechtel (Xytel-Bechtel, Inc. XBI).