45Q LCA for Nitrogen Fertilizer Products
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Project Objective

Coffeyville Resources Nitrogen Fertilizers, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of CVR Partners, LP, is a fertilizer facility in North America that has been capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) in its manufacturing process since 2013. The plant is unique in that it uses a petroleum coke—or pet coke—gasification process to produce hydrogen and, subsequently, ammonia. The CO2 captured at the pet coke gasification unit is used for enhanced oil recovery and to produce urea, a component of urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) fertilizer. CVR Partners retained Geosyntec to perform a life cycle assessment (LCA) of its fertilizer products to qualify for 26 CFR § 1.45Q-4 (45Q) carbon oxide utilization tax credits and to develop an environmental product declaration (EPD) for its fertilizer products.

Geosyntec’s Scope of Services

Geosyntec conducted a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions-focused LCA to demonstrate that CVR Partners’ process results in a net reduction of CO2 equivalents when compared to a comparison product system. The comparison product system for UAN fertilizer involves the production of ammonia from conventional steam methane reforming of natural gas feedstock rather than by gasification of pet coke. As prescribed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Geosyntec implemented an LCA system expansion and displacement approach to address the disparate co-products of CVR Partners’ process. A sensitivity analysis was also performed to identify key parameters, or “hot spots,” whose contributions to total life cycle GHG emissions are disproportionately large. The LCA report was prepared in conformity with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14040 and 14044 standards and the NETL CO2U LCA Guidance Document as modified by the NETL 45Q Addendum.

Notable Accomplishments

This LCA was required by the Internal Revenue Service in order for CVR Partners to satisfy the requirements for 45Q carbon oxide utilization tax credits. The LCA report is currently under technical review by DOE, and Geosyntec has prepared follow-up submittals to address DOE review comments. Meanwhile, Geosyntec is providing additional technical support to CVR Partners related to the development of an EPD for its UAN fertilizer and the certification of its products as “low carbon” or “blue.” These initiatives will help CVR Partners to distinguish its products as low-carbon alternatives in the fertilizer marketplace.

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Project Summary

  • Location: Coffeyville, Kansas
  • Client: CVR Partners, LP
  • Project Practice Areas: Life Cycle Assessment – GHG
  • Type of Facility: Fertilizer
  • Services Provided: LCA; U.S. Internal Revenue Service and Department of Energy Engagement; Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS); Product Certification
  • Type of Work: LCA, GHG Intensity
  • Governing Regulation: Federal