The Ammonia Wrap: two new large-scale ammonia projects in the UAE and more

Welcome to the Ammonia Wrap: a summary of all the latest announcements, news items and publications about ammonia energy.

Two new large-scale ammonia projects in the UAE

Click to enlarge. Green hydrogen and green ammonia production process at KIZAD. Source: Helios Industry.

Earlier this week, the UAE’s national oil organisation ADNOC announced its plans for a million ton per year, blue ammonia facility to be built in Ruwais, west of Abu Dhabi. ADNOC will draw on its experiences operating the Middle East’s first commercial CCUS facility in Al Reyadah, and an FID for the Ruwais project is expected by 2022 (if successful, operations are scheduled to begin by 2025).

And an 800 MW solar farm is set to power a new, green ammonia production facility at Abu Dhabi Port. KIZAD (a subsidiary of the Port Authority and site for the new production facility) will develop the 200,000 tonne per year green ammonia project intended to target regional & international ammonia export markets, with Helios Industry investing $1 billion in the plant’s construction.

RWE, BASF combine for 2 GW “Offshore-to-X” project

Click to enlarge. BASF’s ammonia plant at Ludwigshafen. Source: BASF.

RWE will build and operate a 2 GW offshore wind park in the North Sea, with the green electrons to power emissions-free chemical production at BASF’s Ludwigshafen plant in northern Germany. Ludwigshafen is a significant site: it’s the world’s largest integrated chemical production complex, has an ammonia production capacity of just under one million tonnes per year, and was also the location where the world’s first commercial Haber Bosch reactor was brought online in 1913. Those green electrons will also power green hydrogen production via electrolysis (RWE to build), and if successful the Offshore-to-X wind power capacity will be expanded past the original 2 GW mark.

Green ammonia exports from Tasmania

IHI will partner separately with two Australian organisations to explore the feasibility of green ammonia exports from Bell Bay, Tasmania (Origin Energy already embarked on its own Bell Bay feasibility study late last year). Fortescue is exploring a 250 MW hydrogen and ammonia export facility targeting the Japanese market, while Woodside and Marubeni are investigating a small-scale electrolysis project (to eventually be scaled to 250 MW), with ammonia as an export vector to Japan and the wider Asian market. All three studies are concerned with the production of hydroelectric ammonia.

Coal co-combustion trials in Japan

Ammonia-coal co-combustion in JERA's thermal power stations.
Click to enlarge. Ammonia-coal co-combustion in JERA’s thermal power stations. Source: JERA.

JERA and IHI’s coal co-combustion trials at the Hekinan power plant will commence, with the intention to demonstrate successful co-combustion of 20% ammonia in one of Hekinan’s power generating units in 2024-5. It will be necessary to procure 30-40,000 tonnes of low and zero-carbon ammonia per year by that date to run the trials as JERA pushes ammonia-coal co-combustion towards commercialisation.

Japanese shipping industry chases decarbonisation

Tsuneishi Shipbuilding and Mitsui E&S Shipbuilding will join forces as part of a new “capital tie-up” to speed up the development of next-generation alternative maritime fuels. From a vessel perspective, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has launched its own study into converting existing ships to carbon-free fuels, and there’s also news from Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, who are re-entering the ammonia transport space with the charter of the ammonia & LNG carrier Green Pioneer. This all comes a month after Nihon Shipyard (a new venture between Japan’s two largest shipbuilders Imbari and JMU launched earlier this year) completed development of an ammonia-fueled very-large crude carrier (VLCC).

South Korean companies join together in local green ammonia consortium

South Korea's new green ammonia consortium.
Click to enlarge. South Korea’s new green ammonia consortium. Source: Hyundai Merchant Marine.

A new six-member consortium will seek to give South Korea a competitive edge in future global green ammonia markets. Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) will develop ammonia-fueled ships for certification by Korean Register (KR), while Lotte Global Logistics and Hyundai Merchant Marine will be in charge of operating those ships. Lotte Fine Chemical is responsible for the transportation, storage and bunkering of green ammonia produced by POSCO abroad (POSCO recently signed a deal with Origin Energy for the export of green ammonia from Australia to South Korea).

New funding for ammonia-from-wastewater research

A new research study into the thermal recovery of ammonia from wastewater has been granted funding from the England and Wales water regulator Ofwat. Organics Group and Cranfield University are among the study’s partners, which seeks to successfully demonstrate the membrane-based recovery of ammonia, powered by onsite waste heat (the ammonia will then be cracked to produce green hydrogen fuel for local use). According to Cranfield University Professor Ewan McAdam, treating ammonia contamination in wastewater consumes around 30% of overall energy requirements for wastewater treatment, so the new technology has huge upside for water utilities looking to decarbonise.

Horisont Energi and Equinor join forces for the Polaris project

And another Horisont Energy Update – a new agreement with Equinor will seek to develop and mature the Polaris carbon transportation and storage initiative. The Polaris carbon storage reservoir is key to realising the success of the new Barents Blue ammonia production plant in Norway. Horizont is also one of the portfolio companies of new AEA Member SagaPure, who we’ll hear much more about in the coming months.

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