Queensland Nitrates Renewable Hydrogen and Ammonia Project

September 23rd, 2020

Queensland Nitrates Renewable Hydrogen and Ammonia Project
A feasibility study has investigated the potential for producing on-site renewable hydrogen to feed into an existing ammonia/ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility near Moura and replace third-party purchased (natural-gas based) ammonia.

Main proponents:

Queensland Nitrates Pty Ltd (QNP), a standalone 50/50 joint venture by Dyno Nobel Asia Pacific (a subsidiary of Incitec Pivot Limited) and CSBP (a subsidiary of Wesfarmers Limited)

Main end-use classification:

Industrial process – ammonia production

Status:

Under development

Estimated cost:

Feasibility study:    AUD$3.8 million

Full project cost: AUD$150-200 million (as included in the QNP Green Ammonia Project Feasibility Study Knowledge Sharing Report)

Other involvement:

 

Production details:

Hydrogen production – 3,500 tonnes per annum under evaluation

Location:

Queensland, Australia

Announced funding:

Feasibility study:        AUD$1.91 million – Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

Project description

The project proponent has undertaken a feasibility study to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of producing on-site renewable hydrogen to feed into an existing ammonia/ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility and replace third-party purchased (natural-gas based) ammonia.

Queensland Nitrates Pty Ltd (QNP) operates a fully integrated ammonium nitrate facility near  Moura in central Queensland, approximately 160 kilometres west of Gladstone at the southern end of the coal-rich Bowen Basin. The facility is designed to produce 235,000 tonnes per annum of explosive grade ammonium nitrate for use in mining operations and comprises three core process units – an ammonia plant, a nitric acid plant and an ammonium nitrate plant.

Natural gas (coal seam gas) is the main raw material and fuel used at the site (supplied via an underground pipeline). As a raw material, natural gas is used in the making of ammonia, which is then further processed (by reacting it with nitric acid) to produce ammonium nitrate.  Presently, QNP purchases approximately 20,000 tonnes per annum of ammonia from third-party sources, manufactured from natural gas feedstock, to supplement on-site ammonia plant production.

The feasibility study examined the feasibility of displacing the third-party (natural-gas based) ammonia supply by the construction of new on-site renewable hydrogen/ammonia plant facilities as well as reviewing the associated renewable-based electrical power supply options to the new (and existing) facilities.

The proposed new hydrogen/ammonia plant facilities investigated in the feasibility study include:

  • A 30 megawatt (MW) alkaline electrolyser capable of producing 3,500 tonnes of hydrogen per annum
  • a liquid ammonia plant capable of producing 20,000 tonnes of ammonia per annum (which would displace presently purchased third-party supply)
  • hydrogen storage to absorb renewable variability and provide continuous feed to the ammonia plant.

Hybrid supply of wind and solar from facilities located remote from the QNP plant and owned by Neoen Australia was investigated by the study (as would be supplied over the National Electricity Market).

The feasibility study was completed in the first part of 2020 at an estimated cost of around AUD$3.8 million.

The study estimated the total project capital cost to be in the AUD$150-200 million range.

A knowledge sharing report was released by the project proponent following completion of the feasibility study.

Milestones

September 2019: ARENA announces the provision of AUD$1.91 million in funding to QNP to assess the feasibility of the construction and operation of a renewable ammonia plant at its existing facility in central Queensland.

 

Last reviewed: March 2022