Message from the incoming AEA President

Hans Vrijenhoef & attendees at the recent NH3 Event in Rotterdam.
Hans Vrijenhoef & attendees at the recent NH3 Event in Rotterdam.

2023 really is the year of change for the clean ammonia business. With more than one hundred projects based on mega-scale solar & wind energy being developed worldwide, we are seeing in real time an enormous shift in demand for clean ammonia production. With increasing commitments of high-volume off-takers, projects are more and more launched just to meet the growing demand for clean ammonia. We are also seeing a huge increase in the amount of planned infrastructure, such as greenfield terminals, storage tanks and cracker plants.

As the new President of the AEA, I want to ensure all interested parties can be kept updated on ammonia projects developing worldwide. But with so many projects, it’s hard to keep up! Myself and the AEA staff ask that our members keep us informed, so we can comprehensively track the development of this new industry.

The new industry faces the huge task of funding this enormous growth, worth not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars. The new infrastructure required will likely cost the same as what has been spent to realize today’s fossil fuel infrastructure network. Once this is built & operational, the costs for delivering new energy to consumers will decrease, pushing back on the narrative that decarbonisation can only result in more expensive energy, feedstocks and fuels. We must also reckon with the true cost of continued carbon emissions, and reframe the way we think about “expensive” energy.

As President of AEA, I will spread the message that investments in clean ammonia technology will pay back in good time, as well as offering a new, exciting market opportunity. This was a constant theme of discussion during the recent NH3 Event in Rotterdam this June. Over 220 attendees heard the latest news about certification, local projects in the Netherlands and the EU, and some new technologies which are approaching higher TRL levels. It was also demonstrated that the clean ammonia market is developing strongly in Europe, with at least 14 terminal projects and 10 ammonia crackers planned in the ARA region (Antwerpen-Rotterdam-Amsterdam).

Critical work still required includes the setting of safety best practices & regulations on an industry-wide basis, plus the development of a clear and simple certification system for product carbon footprint, accepted by stakeholders around the world. The further improvement of technology to produce cheap and clean ammonia will complement this.

To achieve these goals, it’s comforting to know that the Ammonia Energy Association has a network of committed members and partners, inclusive of the broad range of skills and expertise that will be required. For those member representatives who serve on the various committees of the AEA on a voluntary basis, I wish to express my sincere gratitude. Together, we are speeding up the energy transition, and working towards the sustainable and clean production of ammonia.

Let’s keep up the pace, keep working together, and help spread the word that clean ammonia will be a winning market. I thank the members for the trust placed in me to support the AEA in the coming year, and I always endeavour to spread the news of our fast growing and innovative industry.

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