Geneva, NE – Fortigen

UPDATED: 11/28/2018 — see Change Log

OWNER: Fortigen Geneva LLC (Tetrad Corporation)
PROJECT: Greenfield ammonia plant[memberful does_not_have_subscription=”1314-ammonia-industry-annual-subscription,1311-ammonia-industry-monthly-subscription,3338-ammonia-industry-30-day-subscription”]

COST (reported): $75 million
JOB CREATION (reported): 22 permanent, 150 construction — see Job Openings [LINK]
START-UP DATE (reported): 2017

Ammonia None given 100 stpd [Membership required] [Membership required]
Units: stpd, stpy, mtpd, mtpy = short/metric tons per day/year.
[1] United States Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Yearbook, Nitrogen gives capacity in metric tons per year, calculated as “engineering design capacity adjusted for 340 days per year of effective production capability,” rounded to three significant digits. Source: most recent year, Table 4: Domestic Producers of Ammonia,
[2] Press reports. Sources: linked below.
[3] [Membership required]. Sources: linked below.
[4] [Membership required]. See Methodology.


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In January 2018, Fortigen began operations at its small ammonia plant outside Geneva, NE, to supply fertilizer to local farmers. The project broke ground in March 2016 and had been expected to start-up by Fall 2017, but this schedule became delayed when the storage tank was damaged during testing, due to “human error.” The company intends to expand the site, to add downstream products (urea and DEF), as well as a second ammonia plant.

COST: $75 million
JOB CREATION: 22 permanent, 150 construction — see Job Openings [LINK]
START-UP DATE: Early 2018, estimate
LIKELIHOOD: Likely — see Methodology

Ammonia 100 stpd 37,000 stpy 33,566 mtpy
Units: stpd, stpy, mtpd, mtpy = short/metric tons per day/year.
[1] United States Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Yearbook, Nitrogen gives capacity in metric tons per year, calculated as “engineering design capacity adjusted for 340 days per year of effective production capability,” rounded to three significant digits. Source: most recent year, Table 4: Domestic Producers of Ammonia,
[2] Press reports. Sources: linked below.
[3] Nebraska DEQ air construction permit application. Sources: linked below.
[4] Adjusted Capacity is in metric tons per year assuming operations for 365 days per year; based on air permit application. See Methodology.

FEEDSTOCK: Natural gas

In December 2015, a local paper broke the news that Fortigen Geneva LLC, owned by Tetrad Corporation, planned to build a $75 million ammonia plant in Geneva, NE. Construction was slated to begin in Spring 2016, for start-up by Fall 2017.

Fortigen has not made any big announcement of start-up, and the company doesn’t although construction of the plant is complete and testing has been underway for some months. Earlier, in the Summer of 2017, Fortigen had been confident that “We are on schedule … We will produce ammonia on the 25th of July.” Unfortunately, an incident with the ammonia storage tank delayed start-up; see my July 2017 update for full details: Fortigen in pre-commissioning phase; ammonia tank setback.

According to documents filed with NDEQ at the end of July 2017, the storage tank was being repaired with “a completion date of November 1, 2017 for the tank.” Even if construction of the ammonia plant is complete, Fortigen needs the storage tank to be repaired and fully tested before it can proceed with site commissioning, because it needs somewhere to store all the ammonia produced during start-up.

Back in March 2016, Fortigen held the ground-breaking ceremony. By July 2016, according to project reps, site grading was essentially complete, and “physical construction began on August 17, 2016 associated with building foundation work (pilings),” according to documents filed with Nebraska DEQ.

In January 2017, Nebraska DEQ published a draft NPDES permit, authorizing Fortigen’s proposed water discharge into Turkey Creek. The final version of this permit was approved in March 2017.

The air permit application, which was submitted to Nebraska DEQ in December 2015 and approved in August 2016, defines the plant’s ammonia capacity as 37,000 stpy – which makes this the smallest commercial ammonia plant in North America (depending by which metrics you count), very similar in scale to the Green Valley Chemicals plant in Creston, IA, which has been operating successfully for the last 50 years.

Given the small size of the plant, it is considered a “minor source” for regulatory purposes, which made the permitting process significantly faster than for other, larger ammonia plants.

Most news reports cited a $75 million capex, while others said that the plant was “expected to cost between $72 million and $80 million.” The air permit application gave capex as $74 million.

In September 2016, Matrix Services Company announced that Fortigen had awarded it a contract for “the engineering, procurement, fabrication and construction of a 20,000 ton ammonia tank … scheduled for completion during the third quarter of calendar year 2017.” After completion, the storage tank was damaged during testing in late May 2017.

According to a conversation with company reps, this ammonia plant was not a new-build, but is an old synthesis unit that Fortigen will refurbish. While the ammonia plant is decades old, it was only ever in operation for a few years, in Canada. This refurbished Haber-Bosch plant is therefore a bit of a technology hybrid, incorporating new (proven) ammonia synthesis technology on top of the unit’s original N-Ren technology. Much of the equipment is new, however, including the whole front-end of the system. These improvements and additions should raise the old unit “close to the efficiency of a new world-scale plant … within a few MMBtus.”

All the anhydrous ammonia will be shipped off-site via truck, from a 6.5 million gallon storage tank, to serve the local agricultural market. The sole offtaker is Farmers Cooperative, which distributes to farmers from about 60 locations throughout Nebraska and Kansas.

In its Q1 2017 earnings report, Tallgrass Energy announced the completion of the natural gas feedstock supply pipeline, “10,000 dekatherm per day Fortigen demand lateral.” This pipeline is evidently sized with a future plant expansion in mind: the supply of “4,000 dekatherms per day contracted for 15 years,” is less than half the pipeline’s capacity.

As I understand it, the project was fully funded by Tetrad, and it benefitted from local TIF (tax increment financing).

Tetrad Corporation describes itself as “a privately-owned asset management firm, with long-term objectives to create value for our shareholders by investing in marketable securities, bonds to private equities, and real estate” – which makes this project seem like a bit of a strategic departure. However, I understand that Tetrad already has significant investments in natural gas, so the company may view a local ammonia plant simply as a way to participate in the additional profit margins of value-added products. Among other projects, Tetrad Property Group is currently developing the Nebraska Innovation Campus at Lincoln, NE, 70 miles northeast of Geneva.

Fortigen is already planning to expand the plant, to produce downstream products urea and DEF. It was first reported in March 2017, that “Fortigen already is considering an expansion into other products that are created using anhydrous ammonia as a base.”

Fortigen officials have asked [EPC firm] GorhamGroup Industrial workers to add some facets to the project to facilitate future expansion at the plant …

“They’re working really hard on this expansion and the new facets that have been added. This could mean a huge additional investment at the plant … well over a $200 million project could result from this expansion.”
Nebraska Signal: Safe work at Fortigen plant celebrated; Westling outlines progress schedule, 07/18/2017

According to local news in September 2017, the scope of the expansion would also include a packaging plant (for the DEF), bringing total employment at the plant up to 100.

View larger map with all ammonia plants.

ADDRESS: 2240 R Street, Geneva, NE 68361, United States

WEBSITE: No website yet at


  • USGS: Minerals Yearbook, Nitrogen [RECENT / ARCHIVE]
  • Construction Permitting: Nebraska DEQ permit documents (search DEQ Facility Number 107214) [LINK]


  • 09/25/2017: Sandhills Express: Fortigen Geneva Plant to Bring Around 100 Jobs to the Community [LINK]
  • 07/18/2017: Nebraska Signal: Safe work at Fortigen plant celebrated; Westling outlines progress schedule [LINK]
  • 06/13/2017: Nebraska Signal: Fortigen set to make ammonia on July 25th [LINK]
  • 03/29/2017: Hastings Tribune: Ammonia plant nears completion in Geneva [LINK]
  • 09/14/2016: Matrix Service Company press release: Fortigen Geneva, LLC Awards Matrix Service EPFC of 20,000 Ton Ammonia Tank [LINK]
  • 03/15/2016: Nebraska Signal: Fortigen fertilizer plant huge addition to Geneva [LINK]
  • 03/13/2016: Hastings Tribune: $75 million plant a ‘very big bump’ for Geneva [LINK]
  • 03/11/2016: Groundbreaking Ceremony Held In Geneva For Future Anhydrous Ammonia Manufacturing Plant [LINK]
  • 03/11/2016: Lincoln Journal Star: Company to break ground on Geneva fertilizer plant [LINK]
  • 12/31/2015: Lincoln Journal Star: $75 million fertilizer plant planned in Geneva [LINK]


    • Mjs Capital Mgmt says:

      You can go to the site they have an office trailer and FORTIGEN employees are there who may be able to answer your questions

  1. Test says:

    Is the project delayed, due to an accident with the tank collapse or damaged?
    What is the new project completion date?

  2. Mjs Capital Mgmt says:

    Gorham as the EPC has not slowed down or been affected due to the Tank damaged, Gorham is not in charge of that portion of the project Gorham still on schedule on the construction and delivery dates with customer on that particular part of the project.

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