How can green ammonia help reach zero emissions

green ammonia

A common ingredient in transportation fuel and agricultural fertilizers, ammonia is already consumed in 200 million tonnes annually worldwide. More choices in the move toward net-zero carbon dioxide emissions may be provided by green ammonia, particularly as a viable hydrogen energy transporter.

Ammonia is an essential chemical feedstock for many industrial uses and plays a major role in guaranteeing global food security and crop nutrition. As the global demand for ammonia increases with population growth, decarbonizing ammonia becomes critical to reduce emissions in the chemicals sector.

green ammonia

According to a recent report by Mission Possible Partnership, ammonia is one of the chemicals generated in the greatest quantities worldwide, making up around 40% of all chemical Scope 1 emissions and 1% of global emissions overall.

Is ammonia the fuel of the future?

Renewably produced from sunlight, air, and water, green ammonia has the potential to power the world without emitting any carbon. Ammonia is easier to transport and distribute than hydrogen and has a higher volumetric energy density. Because H2 is a light gas that must be held under pressure and in cryogenic temperatures, it takes enormous volumes to store little amounts, raising issues about safety and cost.

Ammonia enhances the value of established worldwide transportation and storage networks. It can be readily decomposed for clean hydrogen production and is a more efficient way to transport H2, as it is significantly easier to liquefy for storage and transportation. On the other hand, ammonia offers several handling and cost-effective advantages: it is non-gaseous and non-explosive.

Green ammonia takeaways

  • Ammonia demand will grow by 2050, largely due to maritime fuel requirements;
  • The maritime sector alone could scale-up of ammonia production;
  • “Green” ammonia will likely dominate over time, making up 70-90% of global ammonia production by 2050;
  • The ammonia sector will be responsible for 3-8% of global renewable electricity demand by 2050, and 9-28% of global green hydrogen demand;
  • Investments will need to be in the order of $59 – $105 billion each year to 2050. This is compared to business-as-usual investments of around $18 billion for the sector currently;
  • Fertilizer use is likely to increase 30% by 2050, but improvements in farming practices and reducing food waste could moderate this increase.
green ammonia

Demand for green ammonia is also expected to grow in a decarbonized world as an energy carrier, with use cases emerging in shipping, power generation, and as a hydrogen carrier. Therefore, it becomes imperative that the process of manufacturing ammonia shift away from a heavy reliance on fossil fuel and towards cleaner energy sources as the demand for green ammonia develops.

What are the priorities?

  • Government action (certification & market-based mechanisms)
  • Urgent scaling of renewable energy generation (enough to meet the demand for 70-210 GW of installed electrolyzers)
  • Commitments from maritime players (multi-year offtakes and green corridor collaborations)
  • Capital mobilization for investment in near-zero emissions ammonia production ($25 billion–$52 billion annually)
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Our work with green ammonia

UH2 works with green ammonia as an alternative to fossil fuels, providing the same functionality on a large scale. These green power options are essential for a full and sustained switch to renewable energy. UH2 has been working on alternative and innovative energy carriers and storage solutions for a number of years. 

Discover more here.

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