I recently wrote about a vast future market for merchant ammonia: transporting carbon-free energy from Australia's deserts to Japan's electricity grid.
Now, however, it is clear that Japan could face international competition for Australia's solar-ammonia resources. Jeff Connolly, CEO of Siemens Pacific, wrote last month about his ambitions for ammonia as an energy export commodity.
To make urea, fertilizer producers combine ammonia with carbon dioxide (CO2), but when farmers apply that urea to the soil, an equal amount of CO2 is emitted to the atmosphere. No CO2 is permanently stored or sequestered through the production of urea.
This is a statement of the obvious, I'm told, but it's worth stating for three reasons. First, not everyone knows it. Second, there was zero data in the academic literature supporting the fact, until now (see below). And third, next generation ammonia-urea plants with "zero-emissions" are becoming a reality, despite some of these new technologies relying on fossil fuel feedstocks.
OWNER: Texas Clean Energy Project (Summit Power Group LLC)
PROJECT: Greenfield plant, urea
SUMMARY STATUS: Financing phase
Originally scheduled to be completed by 2014, but severely delayed. New EPC contracts signed December 2015, when financial close was expected in "spring" 2016. This was going to be a major commercial "clean coal" power plant with significant urea byproduct, but DOE effectively killed the project when it suspended funding in mid-2016. The developers are now trying one last idea: ditching power generation and focusing only on urea production.