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Creating a 'world-class hydrogen hub' in ND

Dave Thompson
Prairie Public

A potential future direction for the Great Plains Synfuels Plant.

That plant is owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative. It manufactures synthetic natural gas, as well as other chemicals.

Two energy companies -- Bakken Energy, LLC and Mitsubishi Power have announced they're working on a plan to locate what they're calling a "world class hydrogen hub," and the Great Plains Plant will play a pivotal role in that. The two companies are now in talks with Basin Electric, to acquire the plant.

"There would be a re-development of those assets into what we believe can be, should be, and we're dedicated to making this happen - turning this into the largest blue hydrogen production facility in North America," said Bakken Energy CEO Mike Hopkins. "Most significantly, this would be the lowest cost blue hydrogen facility in North America."

Hopkins said blue hydrogen would come from natural gas, both from the Bakken itself, and from the synthetic gas Great Plains produces. The gas would be de-carbonized, with the CO2 being stored underground and used for such things as enhanced oil recovery. Great Plains already transports CO2 to Saskatchewan for the purpose.

The Hydrogen would also be used for motor vehicle fuels, and electricity generation.

"At Mitsubishi Power, we have gone all-in on the idea of de-carbonizing energy," said Mitsubishi Power Americas CEO Paul Browning.

There is still work to do before the purchase is finalized. But Basin CEO Paul Sukut said this could greatly extend the life of the plant.

"It greatly extends the opportunity for our employees to maintain their jobs long-term," Sukut said. "That's important to me personally."

Sukut said Great Plains has a very good workforce.

"They're innovative, and they find ways to make that plant more profitable," Sukut said. "So this is very exciting."

Officials of the companies are hoping to have an agreement later this year.

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