Air Liquide aims to build ammonia cracking pilot plant in Belgian port by 2024

French industrial gases supplier Air Liquide has revealed plans to build an industrial-scale ammonia cracking pilot plant in the port of Antwerp, Belgium.

Courtesy of Air Liquide

The company announced the construction of the plant on 23 March, stating that it will use innovative technology to enable the conversion of ammonia into hydrogen with an optimized carbon footprint.

This pilot plant, which combines a novel efficient process with Air Liquide’s proprietary technologies, is planned to be operational in 2024.

Financial support for the project has been confirmed by the Flemish Government, through the VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship).

Michael J. Graff, Executive Vice President of Air Liquide Group, said: “Ammonia cracking complements Air Liquide’s already thorough portfolio of hydrogen technologies and adds yet another technological solution to enable the development of a hydrogen global market. More than ever, the Group is committed to making hydrogen a key element of the fight against climate change, in particular for the decarbonisation of heavy industry and mobility.”

In line with its ADVANCE strategic plan, Air Liquide is committed to investing globally approximately €8 billion in the low-carbon hydrogen value chain by 2035.

For instance, Air Liquide’s hydrogen production technology will be applied in Japan’s first demonstration project for the production of low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia owned and operated by INPEX Corporation.

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The company also signed a long-term contract with compatriot energy giant TotalEnergies to produce and valorise renewable, low-carbon hydrogen at the Grandpuits zero crude platform. The contract will see TotalEnergies purchase the hydrogen produced for the needs of its platform while Air Liquide will invest over €130 million in the construction and operation of a new unit producing hydrogen.

At the same time, Air Liquide is part of a consortium comprising Chevron Corporation, LyondellBasell and Uniper which is conducting a study that will evaluate and potentially advance the development of a hydrogen and ammonia production facility along the US Gulf Coast.