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June 23, 2021 10:15 AM, EDT

Nikola Invests in Midwestern Hydrogen Plant

Nikola Two Class 8 truck A Nikola Two Class 8 truck, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell for the U.S. market. (Nikola Motor Co.)

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Zero-emission truck builder Nikola Corp. has invested $50 million in cash and stock in Wabash Valley Resources in exchange for a 20% equity interest in the clean hydrogen production project WVR is developing in West Terre Haute, Ind.

Ground-breaking is expected to begin early next year and take about two years to complete.

WVR is converting a gasification plant it purchased in 2016 to use solid waste byproducts such as petroleum coke combined with biomass to produce sustainable hydrogen for transportation fuel and base-load electricity generation while capturing CO2 emissions for permanent underground sequestration.

Simon Greenshields

Greenshields

“WVR is developing a multiproduct facility, where the hydrogen can be combusted in a turbine to produce clean base-load power,” Chairman Simon Greenshields said. “The recent spate of power outages serves as a reminder that the market has a pressing need for a nonintermittent source of clean energy. We also look forward to working with Nikola to bring zero-emission transportation solutions to the Midwest,”

The completed facility is expected to produce up to 336 tons of hydrogen per day, enough to generate approximately 285 megawatts of clean electricity. The project is expected to require 125 full-time employees and may support 750 construction jobs.

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

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“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.

Nikola expects the project will allow its bundled truck lease — including fuel, service and maintenance — to compete favorably with diesel, Koziner said. Those trucks are readying for testing next year and production in 2023.

WVR is an affiliate of Phibro — a commodity merchant company that engages in physical trading and develops related assets. — Transport Topics

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