Incitec Pivot investigates green ammonia supply from Newcastle to Singapore

Green ammonia supply from Australia’s hydrogen hubs

Kooragang Island ammonia production plant in Newcastle, Australia.
Click to learn more. Kooragang Island ammonia production plant in Newcastle, Australia. Source: Newcastle Herald.

Incitec Pivot, Keppel Infrastructure and Temasek signed a new MoU this week to investigate the production and export of green ammonia from Australia to Singapore. Incitec Pivot’s existing Kooragang Island facility in Newcastle, Australia could be one source, with the other being a potential greenfield site in Gladstone. Both Gladstone and Newcastle have been nominated by the Australian government as future hydrogen hubs, with new funding announced this week (see below).

As well as Incitec Pivot’s ammonia production expertise and existing facilities in Australia, Keppel Infrastructure brings to the partnership significant experience in developing energy infrastructure including gas power plants, waste to energy facilities, as well as being an electrical retailer in Singapore. The announcement indicates ammonia imported from Australia will be examined as a “direct feedstock” for energy generation for customers in Singapore and potentially the broader region, and/or act as a hydrogen carrier (eg. for bunker fuel).

Incitec Pivot Managing Director & CEO, Ms Jeanne Johns, said, “We are delighted to partner with two of Singapore’s leading companies to investigate new and exciting opportunities to create Australia’s green ammonia industry.

“Both our Kooragang Island site and potential greenfield site in Gladstone have the advantage of being nominated by the Australian Government as locations for hydrogen hub development.

“We are looking forward to combining our leading ammonia manufacturing and handling expertise here in Australia with Keppel’s large-scale energy and infrastructure development capabilities, and Temasek’s experience in sustainable solutions. This is another step in our commitment to support the development of an Australian low carbon energy industry of the future.”

Keppel Infrastructure’s press release, 5 Nov 2021

Green ammonia: a lifeline for Gibson Island?

This week Incitec Pivot also announced they will cease conventional ammonia production (hydrogen from gas feedstock) at their Gibson Island plant in Brisbane by the end of 2022. Unable to secure a competitive, long-term contract for natural gas supply, future hydrogen production at Gibson Island will need to be via electrolysis. This potential transition is the focus of a current feasibility study being conducted by Incitec Pivot and Fortescue Future Industries. Incitec Pivot’s VP of Strategic Project Development Darren Jarvis commented to Ammonia Energy that:

The potential for production of green ammonia at Gibson Island has provided an opportunity for giving new life to a plant that will otherwise permanently close. Incitec Pivot Limited is actively seeking to accelerate the development of the green ammonia industry in Australia, leveraging our existing ammonia manufacturing capabilities and assets. Our strategy is to partner with leading companies with complementary capabilities and aligned interests. The brownfield conversion of the Gibson Island facility provides a pathway for bringing green ammonia at industrial scale to market quickly. Greenfield developments at Kooragang Island (and potentially Gladstone) are based on leveraging our assets and capabilities, along with our partners’ to develop bankable projects.

Darren Jarvis, VP of Strategic Project Development at Incitec Pivot

Government funding for future hydrogen hubs

The Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub Project.
Click to learn more about the Port of Newcastle Hydrogen Hub Project.

Although unrelated to Incitec Pivot’s partnership with Keppel and Temasek, the announcement of new government funding to support development of a 40 MW electrolysis hub in Newcastle shows increased interest in hydrogen solutions in Australia. The feasibility study will be led by the Port of Newcastle and Macquarie Group.

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