Ørsted and Yara, said to be the world’s leading fertilizer company, have joined forces to develop a pioneering project to use green hydrogen in the production of ammonia
The companies believe the project has the potential to abate more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent to taking 50,000 vehicles off the road.
If the required co-funding is secured and the right regulatory framework developed, the project could be operational in 2024/2025.
Yara and Ørsted plan to develop a 100-MW wind-powered electrolyser for renewable hydrogen to replace hydrogen derived from fossil fuels. The hydrogen will be used in the production of ammonia at Yara’s facility in Sluiskil in the Dutch province of Zeeland.
The green hydrogen would generate around 75,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year – approximately 10% of the capacity of one of the ammonia plants at Sluiskil.
The electricity used in the electrolyser would come from Ørsted’s offshore windfarms, potentially from the company’s Borssele 1 & 2 offshore windfarm, the second largest in the world, which is off the coast of Zeeland close to the Sluiskil plant.
The green ammonia will be used in the production of carbon-neutral fertilizer products, helping to decarbonise the food value chain. It also has potential as a climate-neutral fuel for shipping.
“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 investment in large-scale renewable hydrogen and ammonia production,” Ørsted said.
Together with Yara, the company is seeking public co-funding for the development and construction of the electrolyser facility. 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 Offshore executive vice-president and chief executive Martin Neubert said, “Ørsted is committed to investing in renewable hydrogen production at scale. With the right support in place, this flagship project will not only lead to a significant reduction of CO2 emissions, but also help mature the technology for the wider decarbonisation of European industry.”
Yara executive vice-president and head of farming solutions Terje Knutsen said, “Green ammonia is essential for sustainable food production. In addition it is emerging as the most promising carbon-neutral energy carrier for several other applications, such as decarbonising shipping fuel.”
Ørsted said that, with its abundant offshore wind resource and large-scale consumption centres for hydrogen in coastal areas, the Netherlands is well-placed to lead the way in the green transformation of heavy industry powered by offshore wind, securing the competitiveness of key industrial sectors and creating economic activity and jobs.
“This project can be a milestone on the hydrogen roadmap set out in Smart Delta Resources cluster in Zeeland, and an important step in the scaling up of renewable hydrogen in the Netherlands towards 3-4 GW by 2030.”
In August 2020, Ørsted and its partners in the Westküste 100 project secured funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy for Westküste 100, the first large-scale green hydrogen project in Germany, part of the country’s ‘Reallabor’ (real-world laboratory) framework.
The first phase of the Westküste 100 will see a newly-founded joint venture, H2 Westküste GmbH, consisting of EDF Germany, Ørsted and the Heide refinery, build a 30-MW electrolyser that will produce green hydrogen from offshore wind.
Pipeline transportation of hydrogen and using hydrogen in existing and new infrastructure around Heide will be tested.
The consortium will also initiate work to develop a vision of sector coupling, including a 700-MW electrolyser system. This will require significant R&D and engineering effort.