Norwegian fertz giant Yara seeking to spearhead green ammonia and hydrogen revolution

Richard Ewing


LONDON (ICIS)–Norway’s Yara is promising to play a key role in the decarbonisation of the global fertilizer industry through zero emission technology focused on green ammonia and green hydrogen, senior executives reiterated on Tuesday.

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of ammonia – which comprises nitrogen and hydrogen – and with large plants on most continents, the group sees the development of “green energy” as crucial to its sustainability goals and initiatives.

Such a target is likely to involve public sector funding, Yara bosses noted as “it’s unrealistic to have such projects really moving into realisation, without partnering with public funding”.

In recent months, several companies have announced significant investment in green ammonia and/or green hydrogen projects, while Saudi titan Aramco last month shipped the world’s first ever cargo of blue ammonia – which captured and reused carbon dioxide generated during ammonia production.

Last week, Oslo-based Yara revealed it is working to create renewable hydrogen for its ammonia production in conjunction with offshore wind developer Orsted.

The initiative to develop a 100MW wind powered electrolyser plant for renewable hydrogen would generate 75,000 tonnes/year of green ammonia at Yara’s Sluiskil plant in the Netherlands.

During a conference call today, Yara’s president and CEO, Svein Tore Holsether, confirmed his group has a “role to play” in the drive to decarbonise the international fertilizer industry.

“Hydrogen is a very important part of reaching an energy sector of zero emissions,” he confirmed during a Q&A section of a Q3 financial results presentation.

“In that context, ammonia will play an important role; hydrogen is a very light gas, moving it distances or storing it is not ideal, but converted to ammonia it becomes a more energy dense solution that travels better.

“We see ammonia as the battery for hydrogen, and being one of the largest ammonia producers in the world, including in logistics, we definitely have a role to play in that space.”

Prior to his comments, Yara’s executive vice president of Farming Solutions, Terje Knutsen, noted the Sluiskil green ammonia project is expected to generate sufficient decarbonised crop nutrients for 500,000 hectares of farmland.

“Green ammonia is quite exciting; we want to be a provider of sustainable solutions to the future food system,” he continued.

“Part of that is to try to decarbonise the full value chain, both in terms of the production – the upstream part – but definitely also the downstream part through better nutrient use efficiency.

“Green hydrogen to green ammonia is more costly, we see this as an invitation to public funding, as this needs to be driven in collaboration between public and private sector.

“We foresee the cost over time of green hydrogen will come down like we have seen in the renewables energy sector.

“We are seeking, among others, the EU Innovation Fund as a means to cover the funding gap between conventional and green technology.”


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