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Danish partnership sets out to build world’s first commercial scale green ammonia plant

15 December 2020

Green ammonia could fuel a third of the global shipping fleet in the future, assessed a report by several large companies within the shipping and energy sector in August 2020. This potential is now being realised in the world’s first green ammonia plant based on the fluctuating energy supply from wind and solar power, which will be located in Western Jutland, Denmark.

The plant will produce more than 5,000 tonnes of green ammonia from renewable energy annually. This production will prevent 8,200 tons of CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere every year.

Onshore wind and solar power to green ammonia

The new plant will produce green ammonia using so-called Power-to-X technology. 12 MW existing V80-2.0 MW Vestas wind turbines and 50 MW new solar panels will power an electrolyser unit that will produce hydrogen, which will subsequently be processed into ammonia. The green ammonia will then be used in everything from fuel to fertiliser.


Green ammonia has huge potential

Green ammonia has huge potential in the global effort to substitute fossil fuels with sustainable alternatives. It has been highlighted as a superior green fuel for international shipping that currently accounts for around 2 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions. Already today, ammonia is used as fertiliser globally and the production from fossil fuels accounts for around 1 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

For this reason, many others have seen the huge potential in green ammonia. Researchers from Aarhus University and Stanford University are working on project to develop a sustainable technology for local-scale production of green ammonia. The project, called “A new twist on ammonia production: more efficient electrochemical synthesis using 'designer' hydrogen-binding mediators”, the researchers will develop a new method whereby they can combine nitrogen and hydrogen.

Green ammonia based on fluctuating energy supply

The cost of green ammonia is currently significantly higher than that of comparable ammonia from fossil fuel. To improve the business case and increase the attractiveness of green ammonia as a substitute for fossil fuels, Haldor Topsoe and Vestas are developing a dynamic, scalable and cost-optimised solution.

Related news: Haldor Topsoe sets out to become the global leader in technologies to reduce carbon emissions

Haldor Topsoe will design the plant’s fully dynamic ammonia technology to secure optimal production and adapt to the inherent fluctuations in power output from wind turbines and solar panels. The ammonia plant will interface to a green hydrogen solution developed by Vestas, integrating electrolysis with wind and solar in one smart control system. In addition, the renewable energy generation will be connected directly to the national grid so surplus power can be sold to the grid.

Paving the way for future Power-to-X projects 

When in operation, this lighthouse project will deliver proof of concept and experience that can pave the way for larger Power-to-X projects in the future.

“This project proves to the world that we can produce a very clean fuel from renewable power at industrial scale as soon as in 2022. We have available the technologies we need to begin the transition towards renewable fuels and reduce carbon emissions, and with the innovations in this project, we push the limits for how fluctuating renewable energy is used in direct synthesis of clean fuels,” said Kim Grøn Knudsen, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer at Haldor Topsoe.

“We are excited to be part of a project that highlights how Vestas is uniquely positioned to integrate renewable energy with other technologies. This project signals a leap forward for the energy transition and highlights the viability of electrification beyond the power sector, already in the near future. With 40 years of experience in developing competitive renewable energy solutions, Vestas is proud to help lay the foundation for scalable Power-to-X production,” said Kasper Roed Jensen, Vice President, Vestas Innovation and Concepts.

Several other leading-edge Danish Power-to-X projects are on the drawing board or being realised at this moment, affirming Denmark as a frontrunner within Power-to-X technology.

Realated news: Large-scale Power-to-X project in Copenhagen ready for the first phase with an expanded circle of partners

Source: Haldor Topsoe

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