Europe’s first ammonia-fired power generation facility planned in Ireland

Centrica, a UK-based energy company, and Mitsubishi Power Europe, a power solutions brand of Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the development, construction and operation of Europe’s first-ever ammonia-fired power generation facility at Bord Gáis Energy’s Whitegate Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) power station in Cork, Ireland.

Bord Gáis Energy's Whitegate CCGT power station; Courtesy of Mitsubishi Power

The project is being led by Centrica, through its Bord Gáis Energy and Centrica Energy businesses, and Mitsubishi Power Europe, and is expected to become Europe’s inaugural ammonia-fired power generation facility and one of only two such facilities in the world.

Mitsubishi Power revealed that the project team is being established to commence project feasibility assessments, and upon the successful outcome of this assessment, extensive local stakeholder engagement will commence.

According to Mitsubishi Power, Bord Gáis Energy’s facility at Whitegate CCGT power station would serve as a global demonstration site for ammonia-fired power generation technology, providing insight into the feasibility and scalability of low carbon ammonia as a green fuel and shaping the future of power generation worldwide, with low carbon ammonia being sourced through Centrica Energy’s global trading network.

The utilization of low carbon ammonia as a clean and sustainable fuel source for power generation has the potential to provide security of supply while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Mitsubishi Power said, noting that low carbon ammonia has a higher volumetric density than hydrogen, enabling the utilization of low carbon hydrogen in a form which is easy to transport and store, resulting in a fuel that can be combusted with no carbon emissions at point of use. Its use as a fuel is a promising long-term energy solution for the transition to a low-carbon energy value chain, Mitsubishi Power pointed out.

Javier Cavada, President and CEO, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at Mitsubishi Power, stated: “This collaboration with Centrica Energy and Bord Gáis Energy for Europe’s first ammonia-fired power generation facility demonstrates Mitsubishi Power’s relentless commitment to pursue cutting-edge decarbonization solutions to meet the demand for electricity while transitioning towards a more sustainable energy future. It is truly a leap forward toward a cleaner, greener energy future, enabled by Europe’s first ammonia-fired power generation facility utilizing low carbon ammonia.”

Chris O’Shea, Group Chief Executive of Centrica, commented: “At Centrica we believe that all energy can be green energy and that this can also improve energy security. This is one of the many projects Centrica is working on to demonstrate how the hydrogen economy could work in practice. In this instance, we hope to be able to show how hydrogen could be stored and transported as low carbon ammonia, delivering cleaner energy for customers at the point of use.”

As for other projects in Ireland, in October 2023, Bord Gáis Energy joined ESB and dCarbonX on the Kestrel project, which proposes the re-development of decommissioned gas reservoirs at the Kinsale Head gas field offshore Ireland for large-scale green hydrogen storage.

This project is seen as an opportunity to deliver large-scale energy security of supply for Ireland which in turn will support the expansion of renewable energy production (wind and solar) and facilitate the development of an indigenous green hydrogen sector in Ireland in the years ahead.