Innovation That Matters

Synthetic ammonia is produced using the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process | Photo source Canva

A pilot plant for green ammonia production

Agriculture & Energy

A collaboration between ammonia producers, universities, and chemical companies will develop a demonstration plant to test methods of producing green ammonia

Spotted: A century ago, a growing population pushed farmers to grow crops faster than nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the soil could keep up, and supplies of natural nitrates began to run out. In response, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch developed a process to react hydrogen and atmospheric nitrogen under pressure to make ammonia for use as fertiliser. But in solving one problem, they caused another one – making ammonia in this way takes a lot of energy. Now, a new process for making green ammonia may once again come to the rescue.

Dutch company Proton Ventures, the Institute Research Energy Solar et Energy Nouvelles (IRESEN), and Morocco’s Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) have signed an agreement to build a demonstration-sized green ammonia facility at the OCP Group chemical complex in Jorf Lasfar, Morocco. The plant will be capable of producing 4 tonnes of ammonia per day, powered using an electrical load emulator that simulates the profiles of wind and solar generation at different geographical sites.

The partners say the facility will act as a ‘world reference unit’ and the trial results will be used to develop large-scale industrial projects that use renewable energy to generate ammonia. The partner organisations hope that the project will allow them to develop expertise, conduct training, and acquire data covering a range of scenarios and operation and maintenance configurations. The hope is that this will enable future green molecule production plants.

Mohammed Bousseta, Director of Innovate for Industry at UM6P explains that the plant will “constitute a living laboratory available to UM6P Researchers, Doctoral Students and Professors for research and education in the fields of hydrogen and green ammonia [as well as] a pilot for training and feasibility studies for a large industrial unit of Green Ammonia.”

The promise of ammonia as a future green fuel can be seen in the variety of recent innovations covered by Springwise. These include a generator that runs on both hydrogen and ammonia fuel and a zero-emission ammonia fuel used to power heavy machinery.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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