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CF Industries plans to be North America’s largest producer of ammonia that doesn’t result in net releases of climate-changing carbon dioxide after a new “green ammonia” project is completed by 2023 at its Ascension Parish fertilizer complex. Based on emerging technology, the project will result in production of only 20,000 tons of ammonia per year, less than 5% of the Donaldsonville plant’s ammonia capacity, but the technology is scalable to larger production, company officials said. Last week, CF Industries said it had signed an engineering and procurement contract with thyssenkrupp to supply a 20-megawatt alkaline water electrolysis plant to produce what it calls “green hydrogen,” replacing hydrogen made using carbon dioxide-emitting natural gas as a feedstock, the company said.

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The hydrogen will make the ammonia by splitting the hydrogen atoms from the water and use the same system that is in place now for the production. The company also plans to use renewable energy for their electric source. Right now the company uses 25% renewables.

ony Will, president and chief executive officer of CF Industries Holdings Inc., said the deal with thyssenkrupp represents the launch of a “new era for CF Industries,” with the first commercial-scale green ammonia project in North America and the largest of its kind on the continent. The move is an early bet by CF Industries that hydrogen will become a leading source of clean energy in the next several decades as countries work toward net-zero carbon emissions to try to forestall the impacts of global climate change. The company says hydrogen is expected to meet approximately 20% of the world’s energy needs by 2050, up from less than 1% currently. Six months ago, CF Industries announced it would take “significant steps to support a global hydrogen and clean fuel economy, through the production of green and low-carbon ammonia,” according to a Feb. 24 annual report. The company has argued that “ammonia is one of the most efficient ways to transport and store hydrogen and is also a fuel in its own right” and that CF Industries and its Donaldsonville plant are uniquely positioned to take advantage, the report says.

There are others who are using this “green ammonia” including plants in Australia and Spain. This also fits into the climate change ideas of both Governor Edwards and President Biden. Kate MacArthur, head of Ascension Parish’s economic development arm, said that this is just one of many that have expressed interest in Ascension Parish and it is not the only “green” operation. The plant is of modular design so additions can be added later to expand production.

“By integrating the water electrolysis plant into existing ammonia production at Donaldsonville, we will build on our ammonia manufacturing expertise and identify efficiencies that will allow us to scale production in the future,” said Ashraf Malik, senior vice president of manufacturing and distribution at CF Industries Holdings.

This shows that companies, not all be some, are taking climate change to heart and making an effort to find new production models.

Is Industry Going Green?
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