SynGest Inc. announced that the Iowa Power Fund and Iowa Office of Energy Independence are in final negotiations for a contract in the amount of $2.5 million for the development and commercialization of SynGest’s bioammonia production technology in the state of Iowa.
The award is subject to final contract negotiations, board approval, and contract execution. The contract would provide a grant in the amount of $2.5 million subject to the terms of the contract. One requirement of the contract is evidence that SynGest has raised an additional $3.5 million in new cash equity for the design and engineering stage of a biomass ammonia facility to be built and operated in Iowa. “The Iowa Power Fund board’s intent to support the SynGest project will greatly help to accelerate our efforts to bring this critical technology to market,” says Jack Oswald, Chief Executive Officer of SynGest. “This is a major milestone for SynGest,” adds Oswald.
According to Oswald, of the biofuels/bioproducts under development, “nitrogen fertilizer represents the most highly leveraged opportunity. The United States imports more than 60% of its fertilizer.” Unlike conventional ammonia production, the SynGest process does not use fossil fuel energy. SynGest’s Iowa plant will be the first carbon-negative bioproduct project of its kind in the world, and will reduce greenhouse-gas-emissions by 150%. As world population increases from 6 billion to 9 billion, the need for fossil-fuel-free fertilizer is critical. Otherwise, the yield of corn, wheat, rice and other food grains would fall by 50%.
“Even a 20% shortfall in foreign ammonia supply, whether accidental or deliberate, will cause serious problems in our food industry and related financial markets,” warns Oswald. “Our SynGest biomass-to-ammonia business model will help to mitigate this risk. We will help make farmers impervious to external energy price volatility, while converting agricultural waste into nitrogen fertilizer to replenish the soil.”
The project will eventually create 360 skilled constructions jobs and 40 fulltime employees. Purchasing/transportation of the biomass and sales of ammonia, and support services will add $10 million of new income to nearby communities. The plant will use 130,000 tons of biomass to manufacture 50,000 tons of BioAmmonia annually to fertilize 500,000 acres of corn farmland.