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Yara International ASA Inaugurates Europe's Largest Renewable Hydrogen Plant

Yara's new 24MW hydrogen plant in Norway aims to cut 40,000 tons of CO2 annually, reducing emissions by 5%.

By Athena Xu

6/10, 14:38 EDT
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Key Takeaway

  • Yara International ASA inaugurated a 24-megawatt renewable hydrogen plant in Norway, reducing annual CO2 emissions by 40,000 tons.
  • The company is focusing on both green and blue ammonia strategies to decarbonize its production processes efficiently.
  • Yara's carbon capture initiatives include transporting CO2 from the Netherlands to be stored under the North Sea, aligning with its clean energy goals.

Renewable Hydrogen Plant Inauguration

Yara International ASA, Europe's largest fertilizer maker, has inaugurated a renewable hydrogen plant in Norway, marking a significant step in its efforts to decarbonize its production processes. The new 24-megawatt demonstration facility, located at the Heroya factory in Porsgrunn, Telemark region, is currently Europe's largest water electrolysis plant. This plant aims to reduce the factory's annual CO2 emissions by 5%, which amounts to a reduction of 40,000 tons from the total 800,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

The facility was inaugurated by Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store and has already produced the first batch of fertilizer using renewable ammonia. Renewable ammonia is created by combining hydrogen from water electrolysis, powered by renewable energy, with nitrogen. This process is seen as a crucial step in reducing the carbon footprint of the fertilizer industry, which traditionally relies on natural gas both as a feedstock and an energy source.

Green and Blue Ammonia Strategies

Yara's CEO, Svein Tore Holsether, emphasized the company's commitment to green ammonia but acknowledged the technical limitations of the current setup. "We’ve maxed out what we technically can do in order to connect this with the ammonia plant," Holsether stated. He added that further expansion of green hydrogen capacity would require a complete conversion of the entire ammonia plant, which is not feasible at this stage.

In the interim, Yara is also focusing on blue ammonia projects. Blue ammonia involves using natural gas as a feedstock while capturing and storing the resulting CO2 emissions underground. "The major difference here are time-lines," Holsether explained. "Green will likely be dominant into the future, but in order to create scale and in a cost-efficient way, to get things done right now, then blue is likely the winner."

Carbon Capture Initiatives

Yara has signed an agreement with the Northern Lights project to transport CO2 from its Sluiskil site in the Netherlands to be stored under the North Sea off Norway. This initiative is part of Yara's broader strategy to explore carbon capture projects, including potential ventures in the United States. These efforts align with Yara's long-term goal to become a major player in supplying clean energy and decarbonizing challenging sectors such as shipping, power generation, and agriculture.

The company operates the world's largest ammonia network, which includes 15 ships, access to 18 terminals, and multiple production and consumption sites. This extensive network positions Yara well to leverage its expertise in ammonia production for clean energy applications.

Management Quotes

  • Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara International ASA:

    "We’ve maxed out what we technically can do in order to connect this with the ammonia plant. It’s not incremental."
    "Green will likely be dominant into the future, but in order to create scale and in a cost efficient way, to get things done right now, then blue is likely the winner."