Case made for nuclear-powered floating ammonia production facility

UK-based developer of advanced atomic power solutions for shipping, Core Power, has released a special report describing plans to use floating offshore production platforms for mass-production of zero-carbon ammonia using nuclear technologies.

The proposed facility is an offshore floating power plant, housing the reactor and the power conversion system. The offshore plant would output a mix of electricity and heat, depending on the actual requirements. It would be sited relatively close to an offshore ammonia production facility and storage tanks and built on the experience of the oil and gas industry. “No emissions would come from the plant,” said Dr. Rory Megginson, Core Power’s director of analytics.

Developer’s possible structures for consideration include a gravity-based structure where a hollow concrete shell can either be floated and then tethered or sunk so it rests at the bottom of the seabed. Other structures that could be considered are more traditional oil rig structures as well as floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels and floating cylindrical structures for use in areas of more intense weather activity.
Production modelling of these facilities showed that using 1.2 GW of electricity, it would be possible to produce 1m tonnes of green ammonia per year, the equivalent of 440,000 tonnes of very low sulphur fuel oil.

According to Core Power, the production of green ammonia at sea using advanced atomic power would be superior to both production from renewables and non-marine atomic systems. “Atomic power has the highest capacity factor of any power generation method, whereas intermittent renewables, wind and solar have the lowest. This reliability and dispatchability makes advanced atomic power the ideal power source for e-fuel production,” claimed Megginson.

For Cor Power, the deployment of floating atomic ammonia producing FPSO would be the best option to produce green fuels that are truly carbon neutral as well as provide the scale of production needed by the industry in years to come. “The flexible nature of these systems will mean it will also be possible to provide a mixture of electricity, hydrogen, and ammonia for other applications, including chemical manufacturing and aviation,” the company explained.

The London-headquartered company said it foresees the floating production of ammonia to consist of a few separate yet interconnected installations, adding that this ensures the highest possible safety when working with both hydrogen ammonia and nuclear power as the various risk areas will be separated, preventing any adverse interactions. The final product would be transferred to either feeder vessels or bunker barges. These facilities would be conceived to operate within the territorial waters of a host nation, thereby operating within its national nuclear regulatory regime. Cor Power added that moving the reactors to sea would allow for a substantial reduction in costs due to the lack of the need for expensive civil engineering as well as allow for the possibility of shipyard construction.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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