Ebene Magazine – Yara launches green ammonia industry with green hydrogen

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Ebene Magazine - Yara launches green ammonia industry with green hydrogen

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Global giant Yara speaks on the “blue hydrogen” advocacy group with plans for commercial production of green ammonia from green hydrogen.

Puppy, that was quick. Just a few months ago, the US Department of Energy launched a project aimed at attracting farmers to the green ammonia market with the help of decentralized wind power, Yara with a green ammonia project in Norway that is similar but different and Much, Much, Much bigger.

Green ammonia is an integral part of the green hydrogen economy that many are talking about these days. Both ammonia and hydrogen are ubiquitous industrial chemicals as well as fuels. They are also climate killers because they are mainly obtained from natural gas (and in some places like China from coal).

There is now a strong focus on the production of renewable hydrogen through electrolysis, in which an electric current is applied to water and Hydrogen gas is split off. Electrolysis has always been around, but its widespread use in hydrogen production is new with the advent of cheaper renewable energy. Improvements that lower the cost of electrolysers also help stimulate investments in green hydrogen.

Once you have green hydrogen in hand, getting green ammonia is just a small step by capturing nitrogen from the air and combining it with hydrogen.

As the electricity crisis in Texas clearly shows, today’s centralized fossil-fuel-dependent network is not up to the challenges of climate change. Failure to invest in basic cold weather curing systems was a major part of the problem in Texas. The broader problem rests on large, centralized power plants.

The US Department of Energy has promoted the transition from a centralized model to a modern decentralized grid of the future, with an emphasis on distributed energy resources, which means a high dose of renewable energy. Things have been floating except in the persistent realm of distributed wind.

DOE defines distributed wind as any size turbine used to generate electricity on site or to contribute to a local distribution grid. This throws up a wide network, although in practice this typically means single turbines or arrays of only a few turbines.

The problem is that site assessment, wind resource analysis, transportation and other soft costs affect the economics of building single turbines and small arrays . The size of the turbine can also unbalance the bottom line. These factors are not necessarily deal breakers for industrial plants, but the agricultural sector is more resilient.

Last year CleanTechnica got wind of a green hydrogen strategy to combine distributed wind with rural economic development in the US. The idea was that farmers could store energy in the form of excess hydrogen produced at night. Sure enough, the University of Minnesota optimizes green ammonia from the dispersed wind angle, with the support of the Energy Department through their ARPA-E-Cleantech finance office.

There are also interesting activities going on in Louisiana on a much larger scale that offshore -Wind development could be in line with the state’s ammonia industry. That finally brings us to the new Yara project.

Yara is one of the largest ammonia producers in the world and the largest ammonia shipper in the world. Therefore, his move to the green ammonia room will have a significant impact on the ammonia industry’s carbon footprint and affect agriculture and other sectors.

Back in 2017, Yara had the idea of ​​building a ship for ammonia fuel. At the time, the assumption was that the ammonia would come from conventional sources, but now that the ship is ready to move the water it looks like Yara has green ammonia up her sleeve all along.

Last week, Yara worked with Norwegian utility Statkraft and Aker Horizons on a plan to produce green ammonia on a commercial scale using hydropower to electrify an existing Yara ammonia plant in Porsgrunn.

« The Porsgrunn- Yara plant is well set up for large-scale production and export, so Norway can quickly play a role in the hydrogen economy, « enthused Yara President and CEO Svein Holsether. “The construction of a new ammonia plant and the associated infrastructure is usually a capital-intensive process. By using Yara’s existing ammonia plant and associated infrastructure in Porsgrunn, valued at USD 450 million, the total capital requirement for the project is significantly reduced compared to the alternative greenfield locations. « 

The big question is why is Yara making money would invest in green hydrogen to produce green ammonia when fossil hydrogen is still competitive. Holsether has an answer to that as well.

« Large-scale production will reduce the cost of the electrolysis route, » he said, adding, that hydrogen has to be converted into ammonia anyway if it is to be shipped all over the world.

« In order for hydrogen to be exported or used in long-distance shipping or in fertilizer production, it has to be converted into ammonia. Converting Yara’s existing ammonia plant is both faster and cheaper than building a new one, « said Holsether.

If that sounds too good to be true, then maybe. Or maybe not. Yara is betting on that Supporting the Norwegian government to make the magic of green ammonia come true. If the country’s success in promoting electric vehicle sales is any indication, the chances of a helping hand are pretty good. Yara and its partners already seem high support is expected.

« Norway’s abundant renewable energy sources are one of our main competitive advantages. This project paves the way for new industrial development and at the same time can give Norway’s important maritime sector a new competitive advantage, namely access to an efficient and emission-free one Energy source on a large scale, ”said Christian Rynning-Tønnesen business Statkraft’s leader.

Another high-profile player to watch in the field of green ammonia is the ship giant Maersk. The company is relying on a growing supply of alternative fuels to meet its carbon neutral goal, and green ammonia is in the running.

With no free lunch around, there is concern that juicing the hydrogen market will benefit gas stakeholders and coal simply enables more fossil hydrogen to be sold.

That may be in the short term, but manufacturers and producers are already struggling to clean up their global supply chains to respond to both consumer demand and government policies in key markets. Fossil stakeholders are resorting to what is known as “blue hydrogen” greenwash, but the PR trick will fall apart as the cost of electrolysis systems and renewable energies continue to fall.

One important aspect is global shipping. Once you understand the problem with Yara targeting its Norwegian green ammonia project for the export market, Liquefied Natural Gas stakeholders will stay awake at night.

The sustainability fire is reinforced by Australia, where policymakers are also green hydrogen and Consider ammonia for export.

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are frequently republished on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other websites. The views expressed are their own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google.

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