Kinetrex Energy spending $4M to modernize plant, increase capacity

Kinetrex Energy, a supplier of liquified natural gas, plans to expand the production capacity of its plant on the northwest side of Indianapolis by 30 percent to meet growing demand from trucking companies, farms and other customers.

The company said it is spending $4 million on a new “cold box,” a huge container where natural gas is liquified at high pressure. The investment will update and increase production at the 28-year-old plant at West 86th Street and Zionsville Road, said Aaron Johnson, president and CEO.

“It’s starting to show its age,” Johnson said on Thursday. “It’s time to modernize.”

Demand for the company’s liquified natural gas has increased by about 50 percent since the operation was sold in 2016 by Citizens Energy Group to Chicago-based Parallel49 Equity Fund.

What the company does is take in huge volumes of natural gas, then run it through a series of machines that condense it into a liquid and cool it to 260 degrees below Fahrenheit.

The condensed liquid form of natural gas takes up about 1/600th the volume of natural gas, making it cheaper to store and haul. Once it reaches its destination, it is often vaporized back into gas form and used for a variety of purposes, from heating buildings to drying grain.

The plant also can vaporize about 180 million cubic feet of natural gas a day into the Citizens Gas distribution system.

Kinetrex has a second plant in Beech Grove, and is in the initial stages of building a third plant. Johnson declined to reveal that plant’s location, saying the deal is not finalized.

The company’s headquarters are at 129 E. Market St.

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