Dutch state-owned energy network operator Gasunie, bulk handling firm HES International and tank storage specialist Vopak have joined forces to develop an import terminal for green ammonia as a hydrogen carrier in Rotterdam. The terminal, which will operate on the Maasvlakte under the name ACE Terminal, is expected to become operational in 2026.
HES operates a strategic location on the Maasvlakte, with quayside capacity and direct access from the sea, while Gasunie has an infrastructure of existing storage tanks and a system of pipelines. Vopak, with six ammonia terminals around the world, has experience in the safe storage of ammonia. Vessels will be able to moor at the site to discharge green ammonia, and in the initial phase, possibly also blue ammonia.
“An import terminal for green ammonia will make a vital contribution to the import of hydrogen,” the partners said, adding that “in addition to the production of green hydrogen in the Netherlands, there will also be demand in Northwestern Europe for the large-scale import of green hydrogen.” The eventual investment decision still has to be taken and will be based, among others, on customer contracts and the necessary permits, including the EIA procedure.
Reacting green hydrogen with nitrogen forms green ammonia, which allows the hydrogen to be transported in large volumes. The ammonia can then be stored and converted again to green hydrogen. Green ammonia is also immediately usable as CO2-free fuel for shipping or as a raw material for the production of fertiliser.
Europe’s largest port has been working with partners towards the introduction of a large-scale hydrogen network across the port complex, making Rotterdam an international hub for hydrogen production and import and the transit of hydrogen to other countries. Last year, energy company Uniper moved to develop green hydrogen production facilities at its location on Maasvlakte with the use of power generated by North Sea wind farms. The port also has memoranda of understanding with carbon tech start-up Horisont Energi to set up a corridor for the transport of blue ammonia from Norway to Rotterdam by 2025 and most recently, with Africa-focused Chariot for green hydrogen imports from its proposed project in Mauritania.