Offshore wind developer Ørsted and fertilizer company Yara have entered a joint project aimed at producing ammonia from renewable hydrogen instead of fossil hydrogen in the Netherlands.
The two companies say their project had the potential to reduce more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to taking 50,000 conventional cars off the road.
"If the required public co-funding is secured and the right regulatory framework is in place, the project could be operational in 2024/2025," Ørsted said in a statement.
Yara and Ørsted plan to develop a 100 MW wind-powered electrolyzer 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 - approx. 10% of the capacity of one of the ammonia plants in Sluiskil - based on a 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.
Decarbonizing Food Value Chain
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, the companies said.
Hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources offers a carbon-free alternative to fossil-based hydrogen, but currently comes at a significantly higher cost, the companies have explained.
Closing this cost gap takes time and will depend on public support to supplement private investments in large-scale renewable hydrogen and ammonia production, the two companies said
"Ørsted and Yara will therefore now seek public co-funding for the development and construction of the 100MW 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," they said in a statement.
"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 decarbonization of European industry", says 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 decarbonized 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", says Terje Knutsen, Executive Vice President and head of Farming Solutions in Yara.
The offshore wind developer said that the green ammonia proejct can be a milestone on the hydrogen roadmap of the Smart Delta Resources cluster in Zeeland, and an important step in the scaling of renewable hydrogen in the Netherlands towards 3-4 GW by 2030.