Tag: Praxair

Yara and BASF open their brand-new, world-scale plant, producing low-carbon ammonia

The newest ammonia plant on the planet has opened in Freeport, Texas.

A joint venture between Yara and BASF, this world-scale ammonia plant uses no fossil fuel feedstock. Instead, it will produce 750,000 metric tons of ammonia per year using hydrogen and nitrogen delivered directly by pipeline. The plant's hydrogen contract is structured so that the primary supply is byproduct hydrogen, rather than hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, and therefore the Freeport plant can claim that its ammonia has a significantly reduced carbon footprint.

This new ammonia plant demonstrates three truths. First, low-carbon merchant ammonia is available for purchase in industrial quantities today: this is not just technically feasible but also economically competitive. Second, carbon intensity is measured in shades of grey, not black and white. Ammonia is not necessarily carbon-free or carbon-full, but it has a carbon intensity that can quantified and, in a carbon-constrained economy, less carbon content equates to higher premium pricing. Third, the ammonia industry must improve its carbon footprinting before it can hope to be rewarded for producing green ammonia.

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Freeport, TX — Yara/BASF

UPDATED: 04/26/2018 — see Change Log

OWNER: Yara Freeport LLC DBA Texas Ammonia (Yara / BASF joint venture)
PROJECT: Brownfield ammonia plant

SUMMARY STATUS: Operational
In April 2018, Yara announced that the Freeport ammonia plant was operational. Start-up was delayed from the original 2017 target, in part by Hurricane Harvey. Yara and BASF held a groundbreaking ceremony in July 2015, five months after the companies confirmed their investment decision and announced details of their joint venture relationship, the EPC contract award, and a 20-year feedstock supply contract.

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Greeneville, TN — US Nitrogen

UPDATED: 04/17/2018 — see Change Log

OWNER: US Nitrogen LLC (Austin Powder Company)
PROJECT: Greenfield ammonium nitrate plant

SUMMARY STATUS: Operational
US Nitrogen broke ground in February 2012, when it expected its new plant to start up in March 2014, but the project was fraught with problems. Permits were revised and reissued repeatedly, and the site had major issues with compliance, which appear to continue even today. Construction and design issues led to major delays and lawsuits. The start-up process eventually began in May 2015 but the ammonia plant didn't start up until June 2016. Within a couple months, the site was temporarily shut down under federal and state investigation of permit compliance; more emission mishaps occurred in April 2017. The company announced that the plant was fully operational in January 2017 but, since then, it's not clear whether plant has been producing much product.

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