Monolith Materials, the company that has built a carbon black plant near Hallam, has announced an investment from one of Japan's largest industrial companies.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries made an undisclosed investment in Monolith Materials to help it further develop its clean hydrogen production capabilities at its plant near Hallam.
A multinational company that makes everything from submarines to air conditioners, Mitsubishi announced the investment during a call with financial analysts Monday morning in Japan.
Monolith Materials, which was founded in 2012, developed a process that converts natural gas into clean hydrogen and a solid carbon material called carbon black, a powdery substance that's used in tires, inks, plastics and other products.
It built a plant just south of Nebraska Public Power District's Sheldon Station near Hallam that became operational this past summer and has the capacity to produce 14,000 metric tons of carbon black annually.
As part of a second phase, Monolith plans to build a larger plant that will produce 275,000 metric tons of carbon black as well as a plant that will produce anhydrous ammonia using the hydrogen generated by the carbon black process, which currently is being vented into the atmosphere.
Monolith officials could not be reached for comment, but officials from both companies said the investment, the size of which was not disclosed, will be used to support development of its hydrogen production capabilities.
In a news release, Yoshihiro Shiraiwa, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said Monolith "has emerged as a leader in the manufacture of emissions-free hydrogen."
"While we're evaluating a number of clean-energy development options, Monolith offers great promise," he said. "We're excited to be the first in a new wave of strategic investors supporting the development of their technology."
"This relationship will be a model for evaluating future investment opportunities to make emissions-free hydrogen the standard around the world, said Rob Hanson, co-founder and CEO of Monolith Materials.
Hanson told the Journal Star in October that the second phase of Monolith's Hallam plant will cost about $1 billion and the company hopes to have it up and running by sometime in 2024.
PHOTOFILES: SHELDON STATION
PhotoFiles: Sheldon Station
There's a lot of buzz surrounding the Sheldon Station generating plant near Hallam and the announcement of a new partnership with Monolith Materials Inc. that will make Sheldon the nation's first hydrogen-burning power plant. But Sheldon's made history before, as Nebraska's first nuclear power plant, before it was decommissioned almost immediately and converted to burn coal.
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