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Topsoe and First Ammonia sign 5GW electrolyzer agreement for green ammonia

Topsoe and green ammonia early-mover First Ammonia have entered into a capacity reservation agreement to kickstart the global market for green ammonia. Topsoe’s energy-efficient solid oxide electrolyzer cells (SOEC) will be installed in First Ammonia’s green ammonia plants around the world in the coming years. The agreement provides for an initial purchase of 500MW of SOEC units and is expandable to up to 5GW over the lifetime of the agreement.

Topsoe’s SOEC manufacturing plant is to be built in Herning, Denmark, and has recently received FID from the board.

At 5GW, this would be the largest electrolyzer reservation of any type. The production of 5 million metric tons of green ammonia produced per year would eliminate 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, the equivalent of taking 9 million gasoline-fueled cars off the road.

First Ammonia has been developing sites around the globe with the first installation of 500MW of capacity to be installed at locations in Northern Germany and Southwestern United States. These projects will be the world’s first commercial-scale, green ammonia production facilities with operation planned for 2025. First Ammonia will operate all its plants dynamically to support existing renewable power markets.

We have the utmost confidence in Topsoe and its storied scientists and engineers, which is why we have chosen Topsoe as our partner. With their cutting edge SOEC electrolyzers and industry leading ammonia synthesis, we will develop facilities around the world to produce millions of tons of green ammonia from water and air. Ammonia saved humanity from starvation a century ago as a replacement for depleted sources of fertilizers, in large part due to Topsoe’s excellence. Ammonia can save humanity once again as the workhorse of the hydrogen economy, replacing petrochemicals to decarbonize agriculture, transportation and power storage and generation.

—Joel Moser, CEO of First Ammonia

Green ammonia has the highest volumetric energy density out of all the hydrogen-based energy sources—much more than pure hydrogen—which makes it cheap and easy to store and transport. With an existing global ammonia infrastructure, green ammonia can quickly and easily replace hydrocarbon-based fuels for a wide range of use cases, with ammonia fueled ships already on order and ammonia power stations under development.

By operating dynamically—producing ammonia during off-peak power demand hours—First Ammonia intends to be a net contributor to the economics of renewable power production, providing for the further build-out of additional renewable power wherever they build a production plant.



Here is a list of what is going in by way of electrolyser installations and manufacturing capacity as of June 9th:

this is a phenomenal rate of expansion


Here is a 2019 study of the efficiency of Topsoe Haldor's SOEC ammonia production:

' For opex, which is dominated by energy costs in any ammonia technology, the SOEC-HB is estimated to produce green ammonia with a specific energy consumption of about 7.2 MWh per ton, which is 26 GJ per ton. In other words, its green ammonia plant could be more energy efficient than today’s best state-of-the-art natural gas-fed ammonia plant, which consumes around 28 GJ per ton.'

It should be noted that these figures are for a small demo plant.
Topsoe Haldor, who as the article noted are experts in ammonia production with 60 plants up and running, are confident enough already to scale to full industrial size.

I don't really understand how the Haber-Bosch units tie in with the electolytic production, perhaps those who are more technically knowledgeable than I, which is a large part of the population, would elucidate? :-)


Here is a study of the use of ammonia as a shipping fuel in a combustion engine, courtesy of Alfa Laval, Topdoe Haldor et al.:

That was 2020.
Since then a Putin sized hole has been blown in costs, to the advantage of electrolysis to produce the ammonia, and to the detriment of ammonia from natural gas and diesel.

I shared the reservations of others about the use of ammonia for this purpose, but the study to a large extent allays my fears.

It seems that spillages of ammonia disperse at least at sea relatively quickly with limited damage??

I would appreciate input from those who can understand this report way better than I!


And here is a study of possible marine fuels compared:

Ammonia is a bit yucky, being both corrosive and toxic, and also has some issues with potential NOx emissions.

It is relatively high density however, although not so good as diesel and synthetic fuels and so does not use unmanageably large volumes of space.

Most importantly it is zero CO2

The closest contender may be methanol, which is relatively non toxic and can be stored in comparable volumes.

It does release CO2 though, which would need storing on board for recycling in a production chain.

That would be my preferred option, if possible, but green ammonia if handled properly would still represent a huge more climate and pollution friendly advance on current fuels.


Hurry-up, im ready to buy an ammonia car for cash. I have always hated gasoline and batteries.



Unless you are planning on driving a Class 8 truck, I doubt that ammonia will be an alternative on the roads.


Gorr: I doubt Class 8 truck, more likely locomotives



Cummins are developing variants of their truck engines able to run on ammonia.
I can't see it myself.
I think Gorr has a private car more in mind......

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