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$38 million engineering study announced for green ammonia at Incitec factory

Manufacturing News

A plan to use green hydrogen in ammonia synthesis at Incitec Pivot’s Gibson Island plant in Brisbane has progressed, with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency awarding $13.7 million to the consortium behind it for a $38 million front-end engineering and design (FEED) study.

The Gibson Island green hydrogen project was first raised by Incitec – Australia’s biggest fertiliser producer – and Fortescue Future Industries in October last year. It would see the plant use hydrogen produced by renewable energy-powered electrolysis to create ammonia.

Fortescue is currently building an electrolyser factory in Gladstone. 

Hydrogen is a key ingredient in ammonia production, and about half of the world’s hydrogen is currently used for that purpose. Current production by steam methane reforming is emissions intensive. 

The Gibson Island plant would use a 500 megawatt electrolyser, which would be one of the world’s largest, and have capacity for 70,000 tonnes per annum of hydrogen. It would require 1 gigawatt hour of renewable energy, according to ARENA.

“Having the ability to reutilise ageing assets and repurposing them to use renewable energy will not only help to keep costs down in the future, but also ensure skilled workers are retained as we continue our transition to net zero emissions,” said Darren Miller, ARENA’s CEO.

“If successful, the electrolyser will be the largest built to date, feeding renewable hydrogen directly into the first fully decarbonised ammonia facility,” said federal energy minister Chris Bowen.

Picture credit: ARENA

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