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Plan to Decarbonize Norway’s Ammonia Production to Build Leadership

decarbonizing Norway's ammonia production
Ammonia plant at Herøya (Dag Frode Heiland photo courtesy of Statkraft)

Published Aug 16, 2021 2:34 PM by The Maritime Executive

To enable large-scale green ammonia production, a new Norwegian company is launching to decarbonize an existing production plant as part of an effort to support building Norway’s position in the emerging clean energy field. HEGRA, which is co-owned by Yara, Aker Clean Hydrogen and Statkraft aims to electrify and decarbonize the ammonia plant at Heroya in southern Norway on the North Sea.

According to the companies, the timing for establishing HEGRA is important because it will be key to building a well-functioning domestic and regional market before the global demand for ammonia increases. The plant currently produces approximately 500,000 tons of ammonia. Provided that power is available at site and the required public co-funding is in place, the companies said the project to convert Heroya into green production project could be realized in five to seven years.

“HEGRA is more than a new industrial company, it is Norway’s largest climate initiative,” said Auke Lont, Chair of HEGRA’s Board. “The decarbonization project will reduce CO2-emissions by 800,000 tons annually, equivalent to 300,000 fossil-fueled cars. It marks the beginning of developing a Norwegian value chain for green ammonia and hydrogen.”

Green ammonia, produced using renewable energy, would enable the production of carbon-free fertilizer, and is a promising zero-emission fuel for the maritime sector. HEGRA will contribute to creating a new industry based on a regional hydrogen and ammonia market, while contributing to maintaining the competitiveness of the Norwegian maritime and processing industries.

The companies noted that access to emission-free fuel will be key to the future of the maritime industry. They believe that the existing global infrastructure for ammonia will facilitate Norwegian green ammonia becoming a global commodity. With renewable energy in abundance, Norway is in a good position to capture a large share of the emerging global green hydrogen and ammonia value chain.

A report published in 2020 by The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise found that the hydrogen industry can become a significant Norwegian export industry. They estimated it could reach more than $1 billion by 2030 and $8 billion in 2050.