There are now dozens of green ammonia pilot plants operating or under development around the world. This presentation will introduce these projects and describe the forces – technologies, markets, economics, and regulations – that are driving the expansion of green ammonia from pilot-scale demonstrations to industrial-scale commercial production.
Today’s ammonia plants cause 1% of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including the carbon dioxide temporarily embedded in urea. In order to reduce these emissions, all the established ammonia production technology licensors have begun to offer process technology packages that replace fossil inputs (fuel and/or feedstock) with alternative technologies, including renewable energy and process electrification. However, while some within the fertiliser industry are among the first movers exploring the transition pathways to green ammonia, the drivers behind this shift come primarily from outside the fertiliser sector and represent new markets for ammonia.
For example, the International Maritime Organization’s Initial GHG Strategy, published in 2018, calls for a 50% reduction in GHG emissions from the shipping sector by 2050. To meet this target, the sector will need to adopt a new carbon-free liquid fuel, available at scale within decades, to replace heavy fuel oil, marine diesel, and LNG. According to DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook 2019, ammonia could represent 25% of the shipping sector’s fuel mix by 2050, a scenario that would require production, distribution, and global trade of roughly 100 million tonnes of green ammonia per year.
Shipping is not the only sector looking at green ammonia. The mining industry wants low-carbon explosives; electricity producers want seasonal storage for renewable power; nations with economies that rely on energy exports want the ability to commoditise green hydrogen produced from wind and solar. This presentation describes these and other external drivers for green ammonia, and frame the risks and opportunities that this transition presents to the fertiliser industry.