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Mitsui OSK Invests in Proposed Louisiana Ammonia Production Plant

MOL invests in US ammonia production
Ascension Clean Energy could begin shipping by 2028

Published Jun 15, 2023 4:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

MOL Clean Energy, a subsidiary of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), is becoming the latest in a series of well-known companies investing in a proposed clean hydrogen-ammonia production and export facility that would be located in Louisiana. The developer of the Ascension Clean Energy project, Clean Hydrogen Works, has previously projected that production could start by late 2027 with shipment of the clean energy commencing in 2028, making it possibly one of the first large-scale green energy projects in the U.S.

"Clean hydrogen-ammonia is critical to decarbonizing the global energy market," said Tomoaki Ichida, CEO, MCE, "With this innovative project, MOL is investing not only for our future growth, but also helping promote the development and adoption of clean hydrogen-ammonia within our fleet and customer base," Ichida added.

The Ascension project was publicly announced in October 2022. The company reports it has identified 1,700 acres strategically located on the West Bank of the Mississippi River in Donaldsonville’s industrial RiverPlex MegaPark located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. According to Clean Hydrogen Works the location has proximity to feedstock pipelines, direct access to the Mississippi River, and existing infrastructure that make it ideal to position Louisiana as an innovator in the global energy transition.

With a projected investment of $7.5 billion, the plan calls for an expected production capacity of 7.2 million metric tons of clean hydrogen-ammonia annually. They believe it would help to meet the rapidly emerging demand for affordable, secure, and low-carbon fuels and feedstock around the world. It could be used to help decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors including power generation, bunker fuel, heavy transportation, steel processing, and industrial applications.

"With the rapidly evolving macro-environment, the world's net-zero goals must be increasingly coupled with affordability and security of energy supply," said Mitch Silver, CHW Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, "MOL's practical yet visionary approach to decarbonization will add critical capabilities and insights to support ACE in delivering on its mission to provide customers with affordable and large-scale clean energy solutions."

Among the other companies that had previously announced their participation is Hafnia, which would export the ammonia produced at the facility using its tankers to reach emerging energy markets overseas. Other shareholders are Clean Hydrogen Works and Denbury Carbon Solutions which would transport the captured CO2 emissions through its existing pipeline network to one of its planned sequestration sites for deep underground storage.

During its production process, ACE would capture an estimated 12 million metric tons of CO2 annually at a capture rate of up to 98 percent. Additional technologies are being explored which could result in zero-carbon or even carbon-negative hydrogen-ammonia production at the facility.