Partners look into large-scale ammonia cracker for 1 million tons of hydrogen imports via Rotterdam port

An initiative of 18 companies led by the Port of Rotterdam Authority and including energy majors Shell, BP and ExxonMobil, among others, has commenced a study into the possible set-up of a large-scale ammonia cracker to enable hydrogen imports.

Courtesy of Port of Rotterdam
Courtesy of Port of Rotterdam

The initiative also includes Air Liquide, Aramco, Essent/ E.ON, Gasunie, GES, HES international, Koole Terminals, Linde, OCI, RWE, Sasol, Uniper, Vopak, VTTI.

The pre-feasibility study will look into the technical, economical, environmental and safety requirements of a large cracking facility. The first results of the study are expected in early 2023.

If established, the facility will enable imports of 1 million tons of hydrogen per year for the decarbonisation of industry and mobility.

For this purpose, the participants have commissioned Fluor to study possibilities for a large central cracking facility in the port area to convert imported ammonia back into 1 million tons of hydrogen per year.

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The hydrogen can then be used in the port or transported onward via pipelines to facilitate the decarbonisation of other industrial clusters in North-West Europe.

As a general rule, one million tons of green hydrogen can facilitate approximately 10 million tons of CO2 reductions.

Hydrogen and derivatives such as ammonia will play a key role in the energy transition to replace natural gas, as a raw material for industry and green chemistry, and to support sustainable transport.

It is expected that a large part of the hydrogen for North-West Europe will be imported, including in the form of ammonia, which is easier to ship than hydrogen.

Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam Authority, said: “Europe will need large amounts of hydrogen to reach its climate objectives and a significant share of this can be imported via the port of Rotterdam.

“Ammonia is one of the most efficient ways to transport hydrogen and by establishing one central ammonia cracker, we can save time, space and resources to enable the imports of a million tons of hydrogen per year.”

The Dutch port was also recently selected as the location for the first large-scale Battolyser factory that aims to meet the growing demand for green hydrogen and electricity storage.

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Click here to read more about hydrogen projects in the port of Rotterdam.