The Ammonia Wrap: an ammonia-powered shipping network in northern Europe and more

By Julian Atchison on July 07, 2021

Welcome to the Ammonia Wrap: a summary of all the latest announcements, news items and publications about ammonia energy.

An ammonia-powered shipping network in northern Europe

This week Viridis Bulk Carriers signed a new MoU with five short-sea cargo owners (Elkem, Vestkorn, BioMar, Franzefoss Minerals and Saltimport) to develop a zero-carbon shipping network (download the press release) based on Viridis’ new ammonia-powered vessels. The group will explore development of a full logistical system comprising ships, zero-carbon fuel logistics and cargo flows from the five cargo owners. The end goal is a “flexible bulk shipping network” across northern Europe (see map below) based on long term shipping contracts. Also included in the press release are more details from Viridis on their ammonia-powered ships: they expect orders to be placed next year, with delivery by 2024-5.

An ammonia-powered, short sea cargo shipping network in northern Europe.
Click to enlarge. An ammonia-powered, short sea cargo shipping network in northern Europe. Source: Viridis.

Sluiskil update

Yara’s plans to start greening ammonia production at the Sluiskil plant is well documented. In an interview with Dutch press this week, Yara Sluiskil’s Manager of External Relations Gijsbrecht Gunter has added some interesting numbers to these transition plans. Of Sluiskil’s annual production capacity of 1.9 million tonnes ammonia, the new 100 MW electrolyser setup will green 4% of production (75,000 tonnes). The figure seems small, but that amount of ammonia is still enough to fertilise the “entire Dutch arable area”. Ultimately 2.2 GW of electrolysers will be needed to green the whole facility.

And, although Gunter sees greening investments to the facility as essentially unrecoverable, the €1.5 billion Yara will spend on greening Sluiskil by 2030 equates to €60-80 per tonne of avoided carbon emissions – very favorable compared to a carbon price of €100+ per tonne, or government subsidies for EVs. We note too this week that Yara officially joined the NCE Maritime CleanTech cluster.

Green projects in Uruguay

Following on from the launch of a pilot scheme to drive Uruguay’s national hydrogen strategy (Spanish language), Maire Tecnimont subsidiaries NextChem and MET Development have reached an agreement with Uruguayan organisation FerSam to develop two projects in the country: one green ammonia production facility and one bio-ethanol production facility. No further details at this point, but the announcement follows closely on from recent Maire Tecnimont developments in Kenya, where the organisation will lead construction of a small-scale, green power to fertiliser plant.

Green ammonia in Ireland: a new update!

Hot on the heels of last week’s Wrap, Zenith Energy and EI-H2 announced a plan to develop a green energy complex at Bantry Bay in Ireland with (initially) 2.7 GW of offshore wind-based hydrogen production and (in the second project phase) 500 MW of green ammonia production capacity. The project could be up and running as early as 2028, when enough off shore wind power will be online to power that level of hydrogen production.

Bantry Bay terminal, Whiddy Island in Cork.
Click to learn more. Bantry Bay terminal, Whiddy Island in Cork. Source: Zenith Energy.

The two project partners are well positioned in the local region to develop such a project. In February Zenith acquired an existing deepwater oil terminal in Bantry Bay, with a storage capacity of over eight million barrels and located on key commercial shipping routes in northwest Europe. EI-H2 recently announced the development of a €120m, 50 MW hydrogen production facility near Cork harbor.

Euronav to develop ammonia-powered tankers

Euronav will partner with Hyundai Heavy Industries, Lloyd’s Register and DNV to develop and build dual fuel, ammonia-ready vessels. Three Suezmaxes ($66.4 million each) have already been confirmed and will be delivered in 2023-4, with a to-be-confirmed VLCC vessel scheduled for 2023 delivery.

Ammonia part of Equinor’s net-zero by 2050 strategy

Hydrogen, ammonia and other biofuels will become a key part of Equinor’s corporate strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Along with heavy investments in on and off shore renewables as well as carbon storage, Equinor aims to have three to five industrial-scale clean hydrogen production clusters up and running by 2050.

H2Site to install first on-site crackers in France

A year after the start-up launched (French language) in Biscay, Spain, H2SITE are preparing to install their first two on-site ammonia crackers (French) at ENGIE facilities in France. H2SITE’s modular, membrane-based cracking reactor can produce high-purity hydrogen for fuel cell applications, and may prove particularly useful for on-board power generation in ammonia-carrying ships.

Updates from Australia

Click to visit. Economically favorable locations (in red) with hydrogen produced by wind. Source: CSIRO.
  • CSIRO will lead a AU$5 million international collaboration program aimed at driving Australia’s hydrogen production price down to AU$2/kg. This announcement follows on from official partnerships between the Australian government and Germany, Singapore and Japan.
  • Also in CSIRO news, the agency just released a new tool for mapping hydrogen production potential in Australia. The Hydrogen Economic Fairways Tool (or HEFT) is open-access and can visually overlay the costs of hydrogen production, renewable generation capacity, key infrastructure locations and other important variables.
  • And Fortescue Future Industries has set a December 31 deadline for financial close on its Bell Bay green ammonia export project. In a press release, Chief Executive Julie Shuttleworth also confirmed FFI has been conducting successful trials on the use of batteries, green ammonia and green hydrogen across iron ore operations, including running locomotives and powering drill rigs, haul trucks and ships.

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