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Yara starts up Europe’s largest green hydrogen plant in Norway

Fertilizer producer Yara International started production of renewable hydrogen and ammonia at its Heroya plant in Porsgrunn, Norway, at what is the largest electrolyzer in operation in Europe.

The 24-MW electrolyzer is the largest of its kind operating in Europe. The company has already delivered the first volumes of low-carbon footprint fertilizers produced at the site using the renewable ammonia feedstock to Swedish agricultural cooperative Lantmannen, Yara International said in a statement June 10.

The facility has a nameplate capacity of around 10,000 kg/d of hydrogen, enough to produce 20,500 mt/year of ammonia, which can be converted to 60,000-80,000 mt/year of green fertilizer, the company has said in previous statements.

Produced via water electrolysis and renewable energy using proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology from ITM Power, the plant’s hydrogen will partially replace ethane gas as feedstock and cut an estimated 41,000 mt/year of CO2 emissions from the site, it said.

Yara signed a contract in January 2022 with Linde Engineering for the construction and delivery of a 24-MW green hydrogen demonstration plant at Heroya. The project was supported by a NOK283 million ($26.5 million) grant from Enova, part of Norway’s ministry of climate and environment, and was originally scheduled to start supplying green ammonia products by mid-2023.

The inauguration of the plant follows ramp-up operations earlier in the year.

The plant is now the largest in operation in Europe, taking the spot from Iberdrola and Fertiberia’s Puertollano facility in Spain, which started in May 2022, also producing green hydrogen for ammonia production.

However, several other demonstration plants due to start up have been pushed back, cancelled or delayed, amid rising costs, supply chain issues and technical challenges in scaling up technology.

Danish green hydrogen developer Everfuel, for example, has further delayed the start of its 20-MW HySynergy electrolyzer project in Fredericia to the second half of 2024, from a previous planned start date of the second quarter.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the cost of green hydrogen production via alkaline electrolysis in Germany, backed by renewable power purchase agreements, at Eur8.25/kg ($8.86/kg) on June 7, up from Eur7.99/kg a month before.

The assessment reflects one possible pathway for producing EU Renewable Energy Directive-compliant green hydrogen.
Yara decarbonization plans

Yara is aiming to completely decarbonize the Heroya complex in the next five to seven years, it has said previously. The complex at Porsgrunn has a total ammonia production capacity of 500,000 mt/year.

Yara president and CEO Svein Tore Holsether described the plant’s formal startup as “a major milestone for Yara and for the decarbonization of the food value chain, shipping fuel and other energy-intensive industries.”

The fertilizers produced using the renewable hydrogen and ammonia will be part of a new product portfolio, which will also include fertilizers based on low-carbon ammonia that utilizes carbon capture and storage (CCS), the company said. CCS is used to store emissions captured from the production of ammonia using natural gas as feedstock.

Renewable ammonia is “an important part of the decarbonization puzzle,” said Hans Olav Raen, CEO of Yara’s clean ammonia business. “However, developing it at scale takes time. As the world is rapidly approaching 2030, we are also working to produce low-carbon ammonia with CCS to enable the hydrogen economy and develop the emerging markets for low-emission ammonia,” he said.

Yara signed a binding CO2 transport and storage agreement in November 2023 with Northern Lights, the world’s first cross-border CCS agreement in operation. Yara has previously outlined plans to cut its annual CO2 emissions by 800,000 mt/year from the ammonia production process as its Sluiskil plant in the Netherlands.

The company said it is also evaluating “one to two world-scale low-carbon ammonia production projects with CCS in the US.”

In July last year, Yara and BASF said they were studying plans for a blue ammonia production facility with carbon capture in the US Gulf Coast region, with a nameplate capacity of 1.2-1.4 million mt/year.
Source: Platts

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