Plans Announced for Europe’s First Large-Scale Green Ammonia Project 

Europe's first large-scale green ammonia facility
Yara's industrial facility in Norway wil provide the basis for the green production of ammonia (Yara)

Published Feb 18, 2021 5:52 PM by The Maritime Executive

Yara International in partnership with Statkraft and Aker Horizons, announced they are pursuing a project to establish Europe’s first large-scale green ammonia project. To be located in Norway at the site of Yara’s current industrial facility, the partners are targeting the opportunities within shipping, agriculture, and industrial applications for green hydrogen and green ammonia.

“This is not just a unique decarbonization project, but a strategic investment that can establish new value chains for green hydrogen and green ammonia. Yara is a world leader in ammonia, with long experience and a leading position within global ammonia production, logistics, and trade. With Statkraft and Aker Horizons onboard we gain key expertise within renewable electricity, power markets, industrial development and project execution, giving us a unique opportunity to realize the project,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

The partners plan to electrify and decarbonise Yara’s ammonia plant in Porsgrunn, removing the CO2 emissions from ammonia production, thereby producing emission-free fuel for shipping, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications. The conversion of Yara’s existing ammonia plant has the potential to become one of the largest climate initiatives in Norway, targeting annual CO2 reductions equivalent to the emissions from more than 300,000 fossil fuel passenger cars. Provided that power is available at the site and the required public co-funding is in place, the project could be realized within 5-7 years.

“It is currently more expensive to produce green hydrogen based on renewable electricity and electrolysis than through natural gas, but large-scale production will reduce the cost of the electrolysis route. For hydrogen to be exported or used in long-haul shipping or fertilizer production, it needs to be converted to ammonia, and converting Yara’s existing ammonia plant is both faster and more cost-effective than building a new plant. However, realizing this innovative project will require good incentive frameworks and support from the authorities,” says Holsether.

Yara’s Porsgrunn plant is well set up for large-scale production and export, allowing Norway to quickly play a role in the hydrogen economy. Constructing a new ammonia plant and associated infrastructure is typically a capital-intensive process, but by utilizing Yara's existing ammonia plant and associated infrastructure in Porsgrunn, the total capital requirement for the project is significantly reduced compared to alternative greenfield locations.

“The first project in Porsgrunn can be a lighthouse project – providing a competitive advantage in a growing global hydrogen economy and building on existing capabilities in the Norwegian supplier industry to create new jobs for the future,” says Øyvind Eriksen, President & CEO of Aker ASA and Chairman of Aker Horizons.

In addition to the Porsgrunn project, the three companies plan to explore the potential for green ammonia production in Northern Norway as a future opportunity.