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Yara and Ørsted set out to develop green ammonia in the Netherlands

Danish utility Ørsted and Norwegian fertiliser firm Yara have joined forces in developing a project aiming at replacing fossil hydrogen with renewable hydrogen in the production of ammonia. If the required public co-funding is secured and the right regulatory framework is in place, the pair say the project could be operational in 2024/2025.

Yara and Ørsted plan to develop a 100 MW wind powered electrolyser plant for renewable hydrogen production, aiming to replace fossil-based hydrogen with renewable hydrogen for ammonia production in Yara’s Sluiskil plant, located in the Dutch province of Zeeland. The renewable hydrogen would generate around 75,000 tons of green ammonia per year – approximately 10% of the capacity of one of the ammonia plants in Sluiskil – based on dedicated renewable energy supply from Ørsted’s offshore wind farms. Ørsted is about to inaugurate its Borssele 1&2 offshore wind farm, the second biggest in the world, located off the coast of Zeeland close to the Sluiskil plant.

Green ammonia is emerging as the most promising carbon neutral energy carrier for several energy applications, such as decarbonised shipping fuel

The green ammonia is intended to be used in the production of carbon neutral fertilizer products, decarbonizing the food value chain, and also has potential as a future climate neutral shipping fuel.

Hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources offers a carbon-free alternative to fossil-based hydrogen, but currently comes at a significantly higher cost. Closing this cost gap takes time and will depend on public support to supplement private investments in large-scale renewable hydrogen and ammonia production. Ørsted and Yara will therefore now seek public co-funding for the development and construction of the 100 MW electrolyser facility to support the project. Subject to sufficient co-funding and a confirmed business case, a final investment decision to build the new plant could be taken late 2021 or early 2022.

“Ørsted is committed to investing in renewable hydrogen production at scale, and with the right support in place this joint flagship project between Yara and Ørsted will not only lead to a significant reduction of CO2 emissions, but also help mature the technology for the wider decarbonisation of European industry”, said Martin Neubert, executive vice president and CEO of Ørsted Offshore.

“Green ammonia can be essential to enable sustainable food production, in addition it is emerging as the most promising carbon neutral energy carrier for several energy applications, such as decarbonised shipping fuel. Teaming up with Ørsted in this project in the Netherlands represents a major step forward in enabling Yara to deliver on its strategic ambitions”, said Terje Knutsen, executive vice president and head of farming solutions at Yara, a company that made shipping news headlines earlier this year when it decided to shelve construction of the world’s first autonomous boxship.

Ørsted has also been in the shipping headlines of late for its plans to test a prototype buoy with Maersk Supply Service that will act as both a mooring point and a green charging station for vessels.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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