Zero-emissions company invests $50M in Wabash Valley clean energy project

Local News

WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A Phoenix, Ariz., company announced Tuesday it is making a multi-million dollar investment in a local project that aims to produce hydrogen and store CO2 emissions underground.

The Nikola Corporation, a company specializing in zero-emission transportation and infrastructure, along with Wabash Valley Resources will be investing $50 million into a clean hydrogen project to be based in West Terre Haute.

Pablo Koziner, Nikola’s President of energy and commercial division, says the Wabash Valley is well suited for both carbon capture, while being the future center point of a soon to be a growing network of fuel dispensing stations.

“The community is front and center in terms of a project of this significance. It’ll put the Wabash name out there if we’re successful and we intend to be. I think it means a lot for Wabash, it means a lot of the state of Indiana,” Koziner said.

He adds West Central Indiana could be a national leader in low cost hydrogen production.

Nikola said it anticipates this facility will be able to offtake about 50 tons of fuel a day to supply future dispensing stations, making it one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

A part of this investment includes the creation of dispensing stations, West Terre Haute’s plant will supply fuel any station within a 300 mile radius.

Simultaneously, this plant will capture CO2 emissions for permanent underground storage, while hydrogen will go through an industrial turbine producing electricity.

“As we launch it, we’re launching it with the idea of power generation. In part for power for the process at the plant itself,” Koziner said. “Repurposing the plant made more financial sense to us based of all of the assessments we’ve made. It’ll give us everything we need to make low cost hydrogen,”

The two groups said they expect the facility to employ over 125 employees full time and support 750 construction jobs.

Senator Jon Ford says legislation and Wabash Valley Resources obtaining a Class 6 permit from the federal government, were big keys in allowing the underground storage of carbon dioxide.

“My hope is we have found some great partners that will bring high wage jobs to our community that is innovative and community oriented,” Ford said.

Since discussions began on this project nearly five years ago, Ford believes this will be a big benefit to the area.

“I would like people to know this is going to be great for our area and this will make us as a national and global competitor in hydrogen,” Ford added.

Officials said they are expecting to break ground in early 2022, with the facility taking an estimated two years to complete.

The companies also said the facility should produce enough hydrogen a day to generate around 285 megawatts of clean energy.

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