Low-carbon ammonia boosted with technology and new capacity

7 June 2024 | Muriel Cozier

Market size for low-carbon ammonia is estimated to be more than $200 billion by 2050.

Johnson Matthey and Thyssenkrupp Uhde have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whereby the partners will offer an integrated low-carbon ammonia technology combining the Uhde ammonia process and Johnson Matthey’s hydrogen expertise through its LCH technology. The companies say that this pairing will enable the production of blue ammonia with up to 99% carbon dioxide capture.

It is estimated that global demand for ammonia will rise to more than 600 million metric tonnes by 2050 due to new demands from shipping and power generation markets. Low-carbon ammonia is set to meet around two-thirds of this demand, which could mean an estimated market size for low-carbon ammonia of more than $200 billion by 2050.

Meanwhile, new low-carbon ammonia capacity is being developed around the world. Backers of the TA’ZIZ Industrial Chemical Zone, in Abu Dhabi, UAE, have awarded a contract for the construction of a 1 million tonne per year low-carbon ammonia facility to Tecnimont. Construction is set to start during the third quarter of this year, with startup slated for 2027.

A preliminary life cycle assessment indicates that phase one of the new production facility will lead to ammonia that has a 50% lower carbon intensity than conventional ammonia. In a second stage, carbon intensity will be further reduced via the capturing and sequestering of carbon emissions.

Those behind the project say the facility will reinforce Abu Dhabi’s position as a leader in low-carbon fuels and capitalise on the growing demand for low-carbon ammonia as a carrier fuel for clean hydrogen.

‘This ammonia production facility, which is set to produce enough low-carbon ammonia to power hundreds of thousands of homes annually, is core to the mission of TA’ZIZ to boost local industry supply chains, enhance in-country value, and catalyse manufacturing capabilities in the UAE – all with a focus on sustainability,’ said Mashal Saoud Al-Kindi, CEO of TA’ZIZ.

In a separate development, Ineos and Hanwha have made an agreement to study the feasibility of a low-carbon ammonia facility, with carbon sequestration, to be located in the US. A final investment decision on the 1 million tonne per year facility is due in 2026, with commercial operation set for 2030. Hanwha Corporation said that the collaboration was aimed at ‘strengthening our strategic foothold in the global ammonia market and addressing the growing worldwide demand for clean ammonia solutions’.

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