Ports & Terminals

Canadian Fertilizer Company Plans To Extend St. Louis Investments

A Canadian company that makes “green” fertilizer out of municipal treated water streams says it is increasing its investment in the St. Louis area.

On November 3, 2020, Ostara Nutrients Recovery Technologies Inc. announced that it had agreed to buy a granulation facility and terminal on the Mississippi River in St. Louis from Bruce Oakley Inc. The two companies signed a letter of intent for the purchase of the assets. Ostara now plans to lease a property adjacent to the facility to manufacture its signature product, a fertilizer it markets under the name Crystal Green. 

Ostara, headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, began as a water treatment company 15 years ago. Its patented, proprietary technology, which it calls the Pearl process, recovers plant nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen from industrial, agricultural and municipal treated water streams and turns them into granular fertilizers that, it claims, improve crop yields. The company says the fertilizer is activated by plant roots rather than water, making it more targeted and reducing the amount of waste and runoff. “We are transforming the commodity market value chain and closing the loop on phosphorus for future generations,” the company says on its website.  

At the time of the Bruce Oakley announcement, Ostara said the acquisition and related transactions were “intended to further support production scale-up of Ostara’s Crystal Green brand of sustainable phosphorus-based, continuous-release fertilizer products in response to consistent year-over-year sales growth, existing early-season orders and increasing customer demand.” It said production at the facility after improvements was expected to begin by November 2021.

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The agreement with Bruce Oakley includes long-term, full-service terminal support for Ostara, including bulk storage, inbound and outbound logistics services via truck, rail and barge and raw materials supply. 

On May 21, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the company is increasing its investment in St. Louis by retrofitting an idled nitrogen fertilizer plant adjacent to that facility. The new site is a former Koch Industries fertilizer plant at 39 Bremen Ave., just north of the McKinley Bridge in St. Louis. The company’s proposed renovations and alterations to the site would cost about $25 million. The facility would be leased from the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis. The St. Louis facility would produce up to 200,000 tons a year, if approved. 

The St. Louis Port Authority board recently voted to advance the project, but it needs further approval from the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The company is seeking incentives from the port authority, including a 10-year, 25 percent property tax abatement on personal property and a sales tax exemption on construction materials.