First imports arrive from the UAE
A shipment of thirteen tonnes of CCS-based ammonia has arrived in Hamburg, Germany from the United Arab Emirates. The ammonia was produced at ADNOC’s al Ruwais plant near Abu Dhabi, which is undergoing retrofits, and is planned to become a million-tonne-per-year CCS ammonia production facility (project first launched in May 2021). This “demonstration cargo” has been in the works since March this year, when ADNOC signed an agreement with a raft of German organisations.
The ultimate destination for the ammonia shipment was Aurubis’ smelter in Hamburg. The ammonia will be tested as a fuel for copper wire production, partially replacing natural gas fuel at the plant. As shown on the right, gas is combusted to power the “cathode shaft furnace” at the start of the production process, and 20% of the gas fuel will be substituted for ammonia in a co-firing trial expected to last six-eight weeks this year. If the trials are successful, permanent use will be explored.
We want our production to be climate-neutral well before 2050. Ammonia can be an important component of the hydrogen supply chain to achieve this goal. This pilot project highlights the pioneering role we play in the decarbonization of our industry. It demonstrates that the creation of a blue – and in the future, green – ammonia value chain between Germany and the United Arab Emirates is not just theoretically possible, but practically feasible.Aurubis CEO Roland Harings in his organisation’s official press release, 21 Oct 2022
Opportunities & challenges
In their announcement, Aurubis provides an excellent summary of the opportunities & challenges of using ammonia as a fuel. From the perspective of an industrial giant looking at new decarbonisation options, ammonia represents a versatile option, but there are availability, technical & safety issues still to work through: