Net-zero emissions: the role of green ammonia

green ammonia

Renewably produced from sunlight, air, and water, green ammonia has the potential to power the world without emitting any carbon. A common ingredient in transportation fuel and agricultural fertilizers, ammonia is already consumed in 200 million tonnes annually worldwide. Its environmentally friendly manufacture may present more choices in the move toward net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, particularly as a reliable source of hydrogen energy.

green ammonia

Ammonia is an essential chemical feedstock for many industrial uses and plays a major part in guaranteeing global food security and crop nutrition. As the global demand for ammonia increases with population growth, decarbonizing ammonia becomes critical to reduce emissions in the chemicals sector.

A new report by Mission Possible Partnership estimates that ammonia is one of one of the highest-volume chemicals produced globally, accounting for around 1% of global emissions and around 40% of global chemical Scope 1 emissions.

Is ammonia the fuel of the future?

Ammonia has a higher volumetric energy density than hydrogen and it is easier to ship and distribute. Because H2 is a light gas that must be held under pressure and in cryogenic temperatures, it takes enormous volumes to store little amounts, raising issues about safety and cost.

Ammonia has enhanced the value of established worldwide transportation and storage networks. It can be readily decomposed for clean hydrogen production and is a more efficient way to transport H2, as it is significantly easier to liquefy for storage and transportation. However, ammonia is non-gaseous and non-explosive, which makes it easier to handle and more economical.

green ammonia

Green ammonia key takeaways

  • Ammonia demand will grow three-to-six fold from current volumes by 2050, largely due to maritime fuel requirements.
  • The maritime sector alone could “make or break” the scale-up of ammonia production.
  • “Green” ammonia will likely dominate over time, making up 70-90% of global ammonia production by 2050.
  • The ammonia sector will be responsible for 3-8% of global renewable electricity demand by 2050, and 9-28% of global green hydrogen demand.
  • Investments need to start immediately, and will need to be in the order of $59 – $105 billion each year to 2050. This is compared to business-as-usual investments of around $18 billion for the sector currently.
  • Fertiliser use is likely to increase 30% by 2050, but improvements in farming practices and reducing food waste could moderate this increase.

In a decarbonized society, there will likely be an increase in demand for green ammonia as an energy carrier. Use applications for this material include hydrogen transportation, power generation, and shipping. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important that the method used to manufacture ammonia shift away from primarily relying on fossil fuel and towards cleaner energy sources as the need for green ammonia develops.

Ammonia green corridors

What are the priorities?

  • Government action (certification & market-based mechanisms);
  • Urgent scaling of renewable energy generation (enough to meet the demand for 70-210 GW of installed electrolyzes);
  • Commitments from maritime players (multi-year off-takes and green corridor collaborations);
  • Capital mobilization for investment in near-zero emissions ammonia production ($25 billion–$52 billion annually).
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Our work with green ammonia

Green ammonia is used by Universal Kraft to replace fossil fuels while offering the same functionality on a big scale. These green power alternatives are fundamental for a sustainable and complete clean energy transition. Universal Kraft has been working on alternative and innovative energy carriers and storage solutions for a number of years. We founded Universal H2 in order to maximize the decarbonization potential of renewables for the production of green hydrogen and ammonia. Discover all our projects here.


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