Norway – Yara International has signed a letter of intent with Statkraft and Aker Horizons aimed at developing Europe’s first large-scale renewable ammonia plant in Norway, facilitating the hydrogen economy and promoting the green energy transformation.
The partners will concentrate on green hydrogen and green ammonia prospects in transportation, agriculture and industrial applications by electrifying Yara’s current ammonia plant in Porsgrunn.
The partners are working to electrify and decarbonize the Yara ammonia plant in Porsgrunn. Based on their joint experience, the partners plan to totally reduce CO2 emissions from the processing of ammonia, thus providing emission-free shipping fuel, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.
The conversion of Yara’s existing ammonia plant has the potential to become one of the largest climate initiatives in Norway’s industrial history, targeting annual reductions in CO2 equivalent to emissions from more than 300,000 fossil fuel passenger cars. Provided that the power is available at the site and the required public co-financing is in place, the project could be completed within 5-7 years.
In addition to the Porsgrunn project, the three companies are planning to investigate the potential for green ammonia development in Northern Norway as a possible opportunity.
Shipping actually accounts for 2% of global GHG emissions, with long-distance shipping responsible for 80%. Converting all long-distance shipping to ammonia will require roughly 500-600 million tons of ammonia annually, 3-4 times the current world output. The Norwegian shipping industry has announced its intention to reduce pollution from domestic shipping by 50% by 2030, which would entail substantial production of green hydrogen.
Yara’s Porsgrunn plant is well known for large-scale production and export, enabling Norway to rapidly play a part in the hydrogen economy. Construction of a new ammonia plant and associated infrastructure is usually a capital-intensive operation, but by using Yara’s current ammonia plant and associated infrastructure in Porsgrunn, priced at $450 million, the overall capital demand for the project is greatly reduced relative to alternative greenfield sites.
The chemical properties of ammonia make it best suited for the hydrogen economy. It does not need to be cooled to the same temperature as hydrogen and has a higher energy density than liquid hydrogen, making it more suitable for transport and storage. Therefore, ammonia is the most promising hydrogen carrier and zero-carbon shipping chemical.