Wabash Valley Resources announced Tuesday that Nikola, which it called a global leader in zero-emissions transportation and infrastructure solutions, is investing $50 million in cash and stock in exchange for a 20% equity interest in the clean hydrogen project being developed in West Terre Haute.

Located at the former SG Solutions plant adjacent to Duke Energy’s Wabash River Generating Station, the project plans to use solid waste byproducts — such as petroleum coke combined with biomass — to produce clean, sustainable hydrogen for transportation fuel and baseload electricity generation while capturing carbon dioxide emissions for permanent underground carbon sequestration.

Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the most commonly produced greenhouse gas, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Nikola anticipates the investment will yield a significant hydrogen hub with the ability to offtake approximately 50 tons a day to supply its future dispensing stations within an approximate 300-mile radius, covering a significant portion of the Midwest.

“We intend this project to produce clean, low-cost hydrogen in a critical geography for commercial transportation,” said Pablo Koziner, Nikola president, energy/ commercial.

“This project will advance the mission of transforming the heavy transportation industry in regards to quality, safety, reliability and cost. The Wabash solution can generate electricity as well as hydrogen transportation fuel, which should provide the flexibility to support future truck sales and hydrogen station rollout in the region,” he said.

As part of this investment in the hydrogen economy in the Midwest, Nikola intends to build stations across Indiana and the broader Midwest to serve the region.

“WVR is developing a multi-product facility, where the hydrogen can be combusted in a turbine to produce clean baseload power. The recent spate of power outages serves as a reminder that the market has a pressing need for a non-intermittent source of clean energy. We also look forward to working with Nikola to bring zero-emission transportation solutions to the Midwest,” said Simon Greenshields, chairman of the board for Wabash Valley Resources.

The project was recently selected to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the Carbon Storage Program. The completed facility should have the capability to produce up to 336 tons per day of hydrogen, enough to generate approximately 285 megawatts of clean electricity. The project is expected to require 125 fulltime employees and may support 750 construction jobs. Groundbreaking is expected in early 2022 and take approximately two years to complete.

Once completed, the project is expected to be one of the largest carbon capture and clean hydrogen production projects in the United States. The focus is to produce zero-carbon intensity hydrogen with the potential to develop negative carbon intensity hydrogen in the future.

“The world will look at this project as a model of sustainability,” Koziner said.

Greenshields said the support of government officials has helped to move the project forward, which includes the endorsement of Gov. Eric Holcomb.

On hand for the partnership signing was State Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, and state Rep. Alan Morrison, R-Brazil.

Ford said, “I was a little skeptical at first about drilling down into rock formations to store the carbon dioxide, but once I was educated by the project engineers, I got on board.”

Morrison said, “We have a lot to offer in the Midwest and I can’t wait to see how this turns out.”
© 2022 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.