Atlas Agro, a European company producing zero-carbon nitrogen fertilizer, was searching for the right location for a potential plant in the western US. The leadership team sought guidance on identifying potential sites and understanding the suitability of each, as well as what they might expect in pre-development and entitlement processes.
Because the company’s unique fertilizer production process uses electrolysis as opposed to natural gas, the requirements of a site for this facility were challenging: It would need access to immense amounts of water and electricity. It would need close proximity to rail, road, and water barge routes- not only for the large volumes of materials coming and going from the plant once operational, but also for materials logistics during construction. Additionally, the site would need to be located in a municipality favorable to this type of facility.
Through the Cobalt team’s collective expertise in civil engineering and large-scale construction/development, as well as decades of experience in in the Pacific Northwest market, Cobalt was able to identify and provide a comprehensive analysis of several sites, heavily accounting for these distinctive requirements. Cobalt was also able to help source options for local general contractors that would be uniquely qualified to interface with the European design team. Lastly, Cobalt was able to advise on potential approaches to capitalizing the $1 billion+ project.
In March 2023, Atlas Agro was able to complete a purchase and sale agreement for the selected 150-acre parcel in Richland, WA, as well as kick off a front-end engineering and design study to inform a final investment decision. These two milestones “reflect major momentum toward Atlas Agro’s goal of supplying locally produced, green fertilizers that can support farmers and help decarbonize the Pacific Northwest’s agriculture economy,” said Dan Holmes, Atlas Agro’s North American executive director.
State officials have praised the developments. “Washington welcomes Atlas Agro and is excited to watch it develop the world’s first commercial-scale green fertilizer plant,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “This is a meaningful example of what’s possible as we build a clean, green hydrogen sector in our state and seize the economic opportunities of a zero-carbon future.”