World-scale solar ammonia plant planned for South Africa

By Julian Atchison on January 11, 2022

Thulani Gcabashe (left, Hive Hydrogen South Africa) and Schalk Venter (right, CEO of Afrox) at the project announcement. Source: Hive Energy.
Click to learn more. Thulani Gcabashe (left, Hive Hydrogen South Africa) and Schalk Venter (right, CEO of Afrox) at the project announcement. Source: Hive Energy.

Hive Hydrogen and Linde will lead the development & construction of a $4.6 billion, 780,000 tonnes per year solar ammonia export facility located next to the Port of Ngqura in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. A dedicated solar farm (with battery storage) will be built nearby and power hydrogen production via electrolysis, air separation and ammonia production via Haber Bosch. Desalinated seawater will be supplied from off-site. Once produced, the ammonia will be stored for export from the adjacent Ngqura Harbour. No date for the final investment decision was set in the announcement, and Mining Weekly reports that the first phase of the project will go live in 2025, with full capacity to be reached in 2026.

Hive Energy UK have been working on renewable energy powered Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia projects since 2019 and are very pleased that we, together with Built Africa and Afrox, have reached this critical milestone in our completion of the pre-feasibility studies for this project. We can now confidently announce our collective aspiration to move forward to Final Investment Decision and commencing the development of this world leading project at the Coega Special Economic Zone. The renewable energy and energy storage component alone will be the biggest project of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa and one of the largest globally.

Hive Energy CEO Giles Redpath in the official press release, 14 Dec 2021

The Coega Green Ammonia Plant has several interesting features:

  • Local stakeholders have agreed to key roles in the project. Desalinated, demineralised seawater will be supplied to the facility by Cerebos, South Africa’s largest salt producer and neighbor to Coega. The solar & battery installation will be built on nearby Tankatara Farm, with existing ecological areas to be carefully conserved.
  • Indications are the facility will be grid connected and supplemented with renewable electricity from offsite. Decarbonisation of the electricity grid &/or dedicated power purchase agreements will be key to maintaining supply of green energy to Coega.
  • The project partners have committed themselves to South Africa’s national vision of achieving net zero through a just transition. Inclusive partnerships will derisk the project, as well as sharing the benefits more widely.

The Coega Green Ammonia Plant. Source: Hive Energy and Mining Weekly.
Click to enlarge. The Coega Green Ammonia Plant. Source: Hive Hydrogen and Mining Weekly.