Report from the European Conference: Renewable Ammonia cost-competitive with Natural Gas Ammonia

29 June 2017

The viability of producing ammonia using renewable energy was one of the recurring themes of the recent Power to Ammonia conference in Rotterdam. Specifically, what cost reductions or market mechanisms would be necessary so that renewable ammonia – produced using electrolytic hydrogen in a Haber-Bosch plant – would be competitive with normal, “brown” ammonia, made from fossil fuels.

A number of major industry participants addressed this theme at the conference, including Yara and OCI Nitrogen, but it was the closing speech, from the International Energy Agency (IEA), that provided the key data to demonstrate that, because costs have already come down so far, renewable ammonia is cost-competitive in certain regions today.

As Cedric Philibert of the IEA put it in his comprehensive Concept Note, published days before the conference:

Thanks to the recent cost reductions of solar and wind technologies, ammonia production in large-scale plants based on electrolysis of water can compete with ammonia production based on natural gas, in areas with world-best combined solar and wind resources.
Cédric Philibert, IEA, Producing ammonia and fertilizers: new opportunities from renewables, May 16 2017

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