US Nitrogen finally at full capacity

Five years after breaking ground, and almost three years behind schedule, US Nitrogen’s ammonium nitrate plant in Tennessee has finally reached “full production capacity.”

This project has been so fraught with problems – permitting, compliance, engineering design, construction, community acceptance, health and safety – that it wasn’t always obvious whether the plant would ever be fully operational. Even now, a raft of legal challenges remain unresolved.

US Nitrogen broke ground for the plant in February 2012, at which time it was supposed to be commissioned in March 2014. Although each of the individual plants were started up over the summer, including the ammonia plant in June 2016, start-up operations were temporarily suspended due to a lack of compliance, and it took another six months for US Nitrogen to fix the issues, integrate operations, and ramp up production.

Finally, in January 2017, 34 months behind schedule, local news reported the company’s announcement that the Greeneville plant was “now capable of full production.”

US Nitrogen began operation of its nitric acid and liquid ammonium nitrate plants in April and May 2016, respectively … Ammonia plant operation began in late June 2016 and fully integrated operation of all operating units began in September 2016.

In late May 2016, the US Nitrogen facility began supplying batches of liquid ammonium nitrate solution, primarily made with purchased ammonia, to its parent company, Austin Powder …

With US Nitrogen now capable of full production, the facility is consistently delivering ANSOL to meet Austin Powders demand, and is also regularly supplying ammonia into the agricultural and industrial markets.
Greeneville Sun, US Nitrogen statement, 01/24/2017

While the company still claims that the project only cost $225 million, close to its original capex estimation, I find this implausible: you don’t get three years of additional labor and lost product for free. How much of these cost over-runs US Nitrogen can recoup in the courts is yet to be determined.

For details on this project’s long trail of dysfunction, please see my Research Note for Greeneville, TN, which remains available both to members and non-members, as an example of the additional information available to members of this website.


  1. Roberta Drake says:

    I can’t wait to here about the results from the spill last night that had everyone on shut down and some people in the area being treated for burning throats and airways. I agree that this site has been riddled with problems and in the end, the cost is going to be astronomical, but to lives and the environment also. It’s been proven to be a bad decision from the get go. US Nitro is looking at it from a dollar perspective. Those of us who live here are looking at it’s effect the cost on our lives. ✌🏼

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