Blue ammonia in the Northern Territory & Wyoming

Pedirka Blue

Click to download the announcement. The Pedirka Blue project in Northern Territory, Australia. Source: Hexagon.

A new, million-tonne per-year blue ammonia project is under development in the Northern Territory, Australia. Originally, the Pedirka Blue project plan was for gas from the Pedirka Basin (located near Alice Springs) to be used to produce hydrogen, with carbon emissions sequestered in a nearby geological formation. A new MoU (click to download pdf) between project developer Hexagon Energy Materials and FRV Australia has evolved that thinking, with blue hydrogen from Pedirka now to be used for ammonia production. The MoU appears to indicate that hydrogen & ammonia production will be integrated together in the same location, but that planned export facilities will be located in the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct at the Port of Darwin: about 1,500km away. Middle Arm will also be home to a number of separate blue hydrogen projects.

The agreement with FRV gives Hexagon access to FRV’s renewable energy portfolio and development expertise. The Spain-based organisation currently has nine grid-connected, utility-scale solar farms in Australia at various stages of construction and commissioning. The MoU indicates that FRV-owned renewable power (existing or new build) will provide electricity to Hexagon’s hydrogen and ammonia production facilities. And, although not specified, the MoU hints that hydrogen production will be carried out via this renewable electricity, suggesting auto-reforming methods will be used.

Project Phoenix

And one of three CCS projects given funding by the Wyoming Energy Authority will be a blue ammonia production plant near Evanston, Wyoming:

North Shore Energy and Starwood Energy Group, “Project Phoenix,” requested $4,262,500 for a joint exploration in the development of a state-of-the-art ammonia complex with on-site carbon capture and sequestration capabilities at existing depleted hydrocarbon reservoirs and processing facilities near Evanston, WY. When fully developed, the project will be a very low-cost producer of low carbon ammonia, will permanently store CO2 underground, will re-purpose existing infrastructure, and retain and create new jobs in southwest Wyoming.

Wyoming Energy Authority Announces Energy Resources Council Approves Three Projects (download press release), 20 Jan 2022

Starwood Energy is also a key investor in the Gulf Coast Ammonia project in Texas. Starwood CEO Himanshu Saxena commented recently that he considers hydrogen & ammonia to be key elements of his organisation’s long-term energy strategy, and that government support for the fledgling sector is crucial:

We expect not just green hydrogen, but also blue hydrogen – and blue and green ammonia – to play an important role in energy transition. This is critical not just for the power sector but also to decarbonise the transportation and industrial sectors. However, the cost to produce blue or green hydrogen is still prohibitive, and we are still a bit farther away from widescale commercialisation and use. Cost to produce has to come down, and the transportation and storage infrastructure has to be built before this will truly have an impact. The BBB bill that just passed the house has significant incentives for production of hydrogen, and we believe those incentives, combined with significant demand for hydrogen and ammonia, will enable this space to continue to evolve.

Starwood CEO Himanshu Saxena in an interview with Financier World Magazine, 10 Dec 2021
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