Our Town Gothenburg: Project Meadowlark

Pure Nebraska
Published: Aug. 17, 2023 at 12:33 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2023 at 12:40 PM CDT
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GOTHENBURG, Neb. (KOLN) - The community of Gothenburg continues to celebrate the announcement of a $750 million liquid fertilizer plant that’s coming to town.

The liquid fertilizer plant project is being called “Project Meadowlark”. It’s billed by developers as the biggest single private investment west of Lincoln in recent memory. We caught up with Gothenburg Improvement Company President Nate Wyatt to learn more. “Project Meadowlark is a big deal in Gothenburg,” Wyatt said. “Actually, we feel like it’s going to be a big deal for Nebraska, and for a 150-mile radius around us. What the project will do is bring an additional fertilizer source to the community. It’s liquid fertilizer that will be produced with 100 percent renewable energy.”

Wyatt points out that most plants use natural gas to create the fertilizer. “What’s going to be unique about this is the natural gas will not be a major component,” Wyatt said. “Traditionally, hydrogen is captured out of the natural gas. In this case, the hydrogen will be captured using water molecules. A really neat part of this facility is that hydrogen will be captured using renewable electricity and water. The wastewater from the community of Gothenburg is going to be utilized in the making of the fertilizer.” Community leaders said the project is going to be environmentally friendly, and carbon neutral.

Gothenburg leaders said there is not much liquid fertilizer being produced in the region. “We think this will serve a wide area,” Wyatt said. “The project is set to create about 50 or 60 direct jobs, and these are going to be good-paying jobs.” The project could generate nearly 250 different indirect jobs. It’s believed the plant will generate more than 500,000 tons of fertilizer and 20 million gallons of diesel exhaust fluid annually.

A group called GIC, or Gothenburg Improvement Company has been working on bringing “Project Meadowlark” to the community for six years. GIC has played a role in business recruitment in the community for years. “More than 25 years ago, we brought Frito Lay into Gothenburg,” Wyatt said. “If you buy a bag of Fritos or any corn-based Frito product west of the Mississippi, that corn came through Gothenburg. GIC is doing everything we can to help advance agriculture.”

Local Gothenburg leaders believe it could be 2024 before we see any ground broken on Project Meadowlark. It could be about two years before the project is totally up and operational.