CF Industries & POSCO: US-based ammonia production for the Asian market

The CF Industries-POSCO partnership is exploring a joint, US-based CCS ammonia production project, for export to South Korea.
Click to learn more. The CF Industries-POSCO partnership is exploring a joint, US-based CCS ammonia production project, for export to South Korea.

CF Industries and POSCO are exploring a joint venture for a new low-carbon ammonia plant at CF’s Blue Point Complex in Louisiana, with long-term offtake to South Korea. The two partners will soon commence a FEED study on autothermal reforming (ATR) coupled with CCS to produce hydrogen feedstock. The study is scheduled for completion in H2 2024, with FID following thereafter.

The ammonia from the proposed facility would be used to decarbonise POSCO’s own and third-party coal power plants. Via a subsidiary, POSCO owns and operates the 2.2 GW Samcheok plant in South Korea, as well as multiple coal power plants in Vietnam. POSCO would also use part of the ammonia as a hydrogen source (via cracking) for hydrogen-fed gas turbines, and in steel manufacturing.

When coupled with CCS, ATR is expected to reduce ammonia production’s CO2 emissions by more than 90% relative to conventional ammonia plants. This would make ammonia produced at the new complex compliant with the South Korean government’s under-development Clean Hydrogen Energy Portfolio Standard (reportedly to be set at a 4 kg CO2e/kg H2 threshold).

We are pleased to collaborate with POSCO to support both their decarbonization goals as well as those of South Korea. POSCO’s concrete plans to use low-carbon ammonia to accelerate decarbonization in steel manufacturing and power generation in South Korea represent significant new demand for low-carbon ammonia as a clean energy source. We look forward to leveraging our two companies’ industry-leading expertise to advance our shared commitment to a more sustainable future.

Tony Will, President and CEO, CF Industries, in his organisation’s official press release, 14 September 2023

The United States is one of the key strategic regions for POSCO Group as it is actively pursuing the establishment of an economically and reliably overseas hydrogen and ammonia supply network through the IRA support policy. We plan to establish a production hub for clean ammonia in the United States in collaboration with CF Industries, the largest ammonia producer, and secure a stable supply network to timely provide clean hydrogen necessary for domestic power generation and hydrogen reduction steelmaking.

Yoo Byeong-ok, Chief Green Materials & Energy Business Officer, POSCO Holdings, in CF’s official press release, 14 September 2023

Through decarbonising its production process, CF Industries has plans to become a significant supplier of low-carbon clean ammonia in the near future. The company’s other initiatives include:

  • A partnership with ExxonMobil to construct a CO2 dehydration and compression facility at its Donaldsonville Complex for the capture and sequestration of up to 2 million tonnes of CO2 annually from 2025.
  • Also at Donaldsonville, a 20,000 tonnes per year renewable ammonia facility (expected to run from 2024).
  • An ongoing FEED study with Mitsui to construct a greenfield, CCS-based low-carbon ammonia facility using steam methane reforming (SMR) ammonia technology at its Blue Point Complex.
  • And an MoU signed with JERA to supply about 500, 000 tonnes of clean ammonia per year to Japan from 2027.
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