Green ammonia in Trinidad & Tobago
Byon January 27, 2022
KBR to study establishment of green market
In December KBR was awarded a study to help establish a green hydrogen economy in the dual-island nation. Repurposing of Trinidad & Tobago’s existing industrial infrastructure – particularly grey hydrogen & ammonia production facilities – will be a key focus, with detailed technical implementation plan to emerge, and possibly even a roadmap to net-zero for the Caribbean nation.
Big on ammonia exports, short on gas
Trinidad & Tobago’s eleven ammonia production plants have a total capacity of 5.2 million tonnes per year. For the last few years the country has not reported its annual import/export figures to the publicly-available UN Comtrade database, so volumes and figures have been pieced together from other reporting countries.
The online Observatory of Economic Complexity estimates ammonia exports were worth US$1 billion in 2019, the third-highest in the world behind Saudi Arabia and Russia (and more than double that of fourth-placed Indonesia). Underscoring Trinidad & Tobago’s importance to the global ammonia supply chain, in 2019 about 31% of their exports were headed to the shores of the world’s second-largest ammonia importer, the USA. However, declining gas reserves and spiraling gas import prices have created shortfalls in Trinidad & Tobago, with some ammonia production suspended and plants closed.
Green is the way forward
In June 2021 NewGen Energy – a subsidiary of Kenesjay Green – launched a vision for green hydrogen feedstock to replace grey in the Caribbean nation. In August 2021 Argus Media reported that bp and Shell had been selected to develop a 130 MW, solar-powered electrolyser facility in Point Lisas, with an output of 27,200 tonnes green hydrogen per year. In September Argus also reported that NewGen had signed their first clients: the state-owned Tringen I & II production plants in Point Lisas. The two plants have a combined capacity of nearly 1 million tonnes ammonia per year. Though the solar-powered electrolyser facility represents a drop in the ocean for what’s needed to decarbonise Tringen I & II, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.