Fertilisers and Ammonia
The manufacture of fertilisers is by far the most important use of ammonia. These include urea, ammonium salts (ammonium phosphates, ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate) and solutions of ammonia. In 1913, the company BASF began operation of the world’s first ammonia plant, from then world population has grown 4 fold from 1.7 billion people to 7.1 billion people today. It is estimated that almost half the world’s population would not be alive today if it were not for the synthetic fertiliser ammonia. Better farming practices and management are required to reduce the intensity of ammonia use and leakage to the wider environment. However, the importance of fertilisers will remain, the global growing population is reliant on secure food supplies. In addition, biomass growth for the decarbonisation of some products such as building materials and fuels for challenging areas such as aviation will require fertilisers. Learn more here
The Haber-Bosch Process combines nitrogen from the air with hydrogen derived mainly from natural gas (methane) into ammonia. The production of one tonne of ammonia results in almost one tonne of high purity CO2. In some facilities this CO2 is combined with ammonia to produce urea, and in other some of the CO2 is sold for food and industrial uses. In Western Europe urea production is less prevalent, with ~8 million tonnes of high-concentration CO2 vented to the atmosphere and some use. Learn more here
Ammonia plants in the USA have been capturing CO2 since the early 1980s. 600,000 tonnes CO2 is captured every year from an ammonia nitrogen fertilizer plant in Enid Oklahoma and transported via pipeline to improve oil production. A further 850,000 tonnes of CO2 every year is captured from an ammonia nitrogen fertilizer plant in Coffeyville, Kansas. Together these projects prevent more CO2 then removing all the cars in Denmark. Learn more here
Now Yara Porsgrunn can play a role in deeply decarbonising European fertiliser production. CO2 captured from the plant will be transported via ship to the west coast of Norway where it will be parentally stored deep below the seabed.