Rio Blanco manufacturer Natural Soda to expand

A company that produces baking soda in Rio Blanco County has awarded a design contract for doubling the output of its plant.

Natural Soda is planning a plant expansion that will increase its production of sodium bicarbonate by 125,000 tons per year.

It has awarded a front-end engineering and design-phase contract to HPD, which has an office in Plainfield, Ill., and another in Spain. Natural Soda and HPD announced the contract in a joint news release.

Natural Soda has nahcolite leases covering more than 9,400 acres in the Piceance Creek area of Rio Blanco County, where its plant is located. It also has a warehouse in Rifle.

The nahcolite deposits are 1,900 feet underground and constitute a naturally occurring form of pure sodium bicarbonate, Natural Soda says.

It recovers the substance by injecting hot water into the deposits and dissolving the nahcolite, which is extracted as sodium bicarbonate crystals while the hot brine is cooled.

The company says the Piceance Basin has North America’s only commercially significant nahcolite deposits. For more than a decade, Natural Soda has been the only producer of naturally occurring sodium bicarbonate in North America, it says.

Natural Soda is the continent’s second-largest producer overall of sodium bicarbonate. It serves the food, pharmaceutical, industrial and animal feed markets.

After completing front-end engineering and cost confirmation, HPD will supply, on a design-build basis, the crystallizer plant.

Natural Soda President Brad Bunnett said in the news release, “We are confident in the ability of the U.S. economy to recover, and we see the opportunity to position Natural Soda to meet the market’s growth over the coming years.”

HPD has extensive experience in chemical crystallization technology and several design-build projects worldwide.

HPD is a Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies company. Veolia is present in more than 57 countries and has 8,900 employees.


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