Nikola Corp.’s application for potentially $1.3 billion in federal loan money to build a planned hydrogen production plant in the Valley is a step closer to being approved.
The Phoenix-based zero-emissions vehicle maker said it submitted an application in May for a loan guarantee under the Innovative Clean Energy projects program with the U.S. Department of Energy Loan Program Office, and now the application has moved to the second part of the process.
The money would be used to build Nikola’s hydrogen production hub on nearly 1,000 acres of land in Buckeye that the company quietly acquired for $16.5 million in September. Nikola (Nasdaq: NKLA) soon after that confirmed that it planned to build a hydrogen production facility there.
The site is located just south of the Arizona Department of Corrections Lewis Prison and west of State Route 85 at 28702 W. Patterson Road in south Buckeye.
Nikola said its access to the federal funds is wholly dependent on the results of a Department of Energy review and evaluation of the company’s Part II application and its determination of whether to proceed. The funds will be used to build the facility, which could produce at first 30 metric tons per day before ramping up to 150 metric tons and potentially expand beyond that.
“This hub is intended to provide urgently needed renewable-based energy solutions and a pathway to a decarbonized transportation sector,” Nikola President, Energy, Carey Mendes said in a statement. “What’s more, it is expected to support clean hydrogen use in additional applications such as industrial, residential, and commercial heating, as well as for decarbonizing natural gas and power generation.”
Assuming the loan funding is approved, the company said construction of the facility’s first phase is expected to be completed in 2024.
That hydrogen hub is part of Nikola’s plan to develop an infrastructure system that will include fueling stations for its heavy duty fuel cell electric vehicles in California and elsewhere in the Southwest.
On Wall Street, Nikola’s stock closed down slightly on Thursday, losing about a cent to close at $2.60. Track the stock here.
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