Green ammonia is fast emerging as an alternative form of zero-emission fuel and is gaining increasing attention from energy giants like ExxonMobil.
Green ammonia is a serious candidate to become one of the most important fuels for our society in the coming decades.
According to the energy site Oil price the gas would have about nine times the energy potential of a lithium-ion battery and be easier to transport than liquid hydrogen (LNG) due to its denser nature. In addition, one cubic meter of liquid ammonia would provide at least fifty percent more energy than the same amount of LNG.
Industries are also quite familiar with the use of ammonia because gas is essential for fertilizer production. So ammonia facilities have been around for a long time and are widespread, making it easy to import the fuel worldwide.
Best shipping option?
Despite the fact that green ammonia is currently receiving less attention than innovations with hydrogen, energy companies are said to be optimistic about the gas due to its zero emissions. The maritime sector has known for years that ammonia can be a promising fuel.
The Norwegian supercomputer ‘Betzy’ calculated in 2021 that ammonia would become the most sustainable fuel for cargo ships in the future. That same year, a group of international shipbuilders and energy companies began building the first tanker to run exclusively on ammonia.
Use of renewable energy to achieve green ammonia
As with hydrogen, there are different forms of ammonia, depending on the energy used to produce it.
Green ammonia would be preferable as a fuel because its use and production is carbon free. With conventional brown ammonia, about two tons of CO2 would be released during production, you know Oil price†
An electrolysis plant is used to make green ammonia that extracts hydrogen from water and removes nitrogen from the air with an air splitter. The installation itself can be powered by solar, wind or hydropower. This form of ammonia production is already well established and no longer particularly difficult, so energy companies are increasingly waving green ammonia.
In June, for example, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) began selling ammonia produced using natural gas. The Japanese company Inpex buys the ammonia because the gas is seen as a pure form of energy. The CO2 released during the production of the ammonia was collected and stored for later use on oil fields on land in Abu Dhabi itself.
Ammonia boom can help achieve EU climate goals
But there are even bigger players who are considering investing heavily in green ammonia. In Norway, energy giants ExxonMobil, Grieg Edge, North Ammonia and GreenH want to study together how green hydrogen and ammonia can serve as zero-emission fuel for shipping.
At an Exxon plant in the Norwegian city of Slagen, about 20,000 tonnes of green hydrogen and 100,000 tonnes of green ammonia would be produced annually for the study using hydropower.
In Ireland, some shipping companies want to build a floating offshore wind farm to also produce green ammonia and hydrogen with renewable energy. The two partners have already signed a letter of intent with the Swedish energy company Hexicon to start up operations.
First Ammonia CEO Joel Moser believes that the green ammonia boom will help meet the EU’s climate goals. The European Commission aims to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by 2030 and become CO2 neutral by 2050.
Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans has regularly emphasized the potential of green ammonia as a renewable hydrogen carrier and called on energy companies to invest in the growing sector. The EU currently has 30 terminals for the use of green ammonia at sea. Worldwide, there would be 270 of these terminals.