Itochu and Hive to collaborate on green ammonia project in South Africa

Japan-based trading company ITOCHU Corporation has signed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Hive Hydrogen South Africa for collaboration in the field of green ammonia.

Courtesy of Itochu

Specifically, ITOCHU and Hive will cooperate on the green ammonia production project in Coega, Nelson Mandela Bay, the Eastern Cape province, in the Republic of South Africa. The project will utilize sources of renewable energy (wind and solar power) and existing infrastructure such as the ports in the area to produce and market competitive green ammonia.

Scheduled to be commissioned in 2028, the plant will supply Japan, Korea, and Europe with over 900,000 tons a year, in the first of four phases, and Hive is confident that its green ammonia pricing for pre-2030 supply will be one of the lowest in the world.

Backed by Hive Energy and Built Africa, Hive Hydrogen South Africa has been operating since September 2019 with an aim of establishing five large-scale hydrogen and ammonia plants in South Africa, powered by 15 GW of renewable energy.

Hive Chairman, Thulani Gcabashe, said: “This is a historic milestone for the project following an exciting period of engagement with ITOCHU in Japan and their very dynamic office in South Africa. The huge positive impact that this project will have on Nelson Mandela Bay, the Eastern Cape, and indeed South Africa is welcomed by us all and we look forward to working together towards a meaningful offtake agreement and investment in the project by ITOCHU.”

The MOC between ITOCHU and Hive is aligned with an agreement on cooperation in the fields of hydrogen and ammonia signed by Japan and the Republic of South Africa in September 2023.

Under the agreement, Japan commits to helping facilitate international development funding, research, and private sector participation to achieve a sustainable and affordable hydrogen and ammonia supply chain in South Africa.

Last year, ITOCHU and South African chemicals and energy company Sasol signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly study and develop the market and supply chain for green ammonia, focusing on its use as bunkering fuel and for power generation.

As part of the policy set out in the Medium-term Management Plan, ITOCHU has also been strengthening initiatives for the establishment of supply chains with an eye on the stable supply of ammonia and promoting the project to manufacture and sell low-carbon ammonia in Canada, the development of ammonia-fueled ships and establishment of an international value chain for ammonia fuel for ships and the use of low-carbon ammonia for fertilizer-related applications.