Yara-ENGIE Pilbara Renewable Ammonia

March 18th, 2022

Yara-ENGIE Pilbara Renewable Ammonia

A feasibility study has been undertaken to evaluate the implication of integrating demonstration-scale renewable hydrogen and renewable ammonia production at existing operations in north-west Western Australia.

Main proponents:

Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd, ENGIE Renewables Australia Pty Ltd

Main end-use classification:

Industrial process – ammonia production

Status:

Advanced development – subject to successful completion of technical and commercial milestones and a positive final investment decision, operations could begin in 2023

Estimated cost:

Feasibility study – AUD$3.8 million

Total project capital cost: AUD$70 million estimated (as reported in the project Feasibility Study knowledge sharing report)

Other involvement:

 

Production details:

Hydrogen production – approximately 320 tonnes per annum

Location:

Western Australia, Australia

Announced funding:

(feasibility study)
AUD$995,000 – The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)

(feasibility study) AUD$2.8 million Yara and ENGIE

(capital works grant)
AUD$2 million – Western Australian Government Renewable Hydrogen Fund, subject to conditions including the project reaching a final investment decision

AUD$42.5 million – ARENA Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round (conditional award)

Project description

The project proponent has undertaken a feasibility study to evaluate the potential for a demonstration-scale renewable energy and renewable ammonia production and export project at an existing plant on Murujuga (Burrup Peninsula) in north-west Western Australia.

Yara International ASA, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, is the world’s largest ammonia and fertiliser company. It wholly owns Yara Pilbara Fertilisers Pty Ltd, whose Pilbara liquid ammonia facility began operations in 2006. It is one of the world’s largest single-train ammonia production facilities, with an annual production capability of approximately 850,000 tonnes. Output from the plant is distributed within the Australian domestic market as well as exported into Asian markets (via a dedicated jetty at the Port of Dampier).

ENGIE is a large French multinational electric utility company that in late 2017 announced the creation of a new global business unit focussed on renewable hydrogen.

Yara Pilbara’s plant produces ammonia by combining nitrogen (from the atmosphere) with hydrogen produced from steam methane reforming (SMR) that uses natural gas as its feedstock. The SMR process separates the natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, the latter being released to the atmosphere.

The feasibility study evaluated the opportunity to replace a portion of the hydrogen produced through the SMR process by hydrogen produced via electrolysis powered by onsite solar PV, including development of a plant to serve as a demonstration project for larger-scale renewable hydrogen development.

The objective is the demonstration project is that the renewable-based hydrogen produced via electrolysis, equivalent to approximately 320 tonnes of hydrogen per annum, would be blended into the SMR-produced hydrogen. Forecast avoided emissions from the existing SMR hydrogen production process is around 6,500 tonnes per annum CO2-eq. per annum.

The commercial demonstration plant (designated ‘Phase 0’) considers application of a 10 megawatt (MW) electrolyser powered by a dedicated solar photovoltaic (PV) farm of approximately 18 MW peak. The project facilities would cover an area of over 20 hectares. The study also evaluated the use of seawater for the electrolyser. Commercial options for sale of the oxygen produced via the electrolysis process are under evaluation.

The demonstration plant would be located adjacent to the existing Yara facilities within the Burrup Strategic Industrial Area, approximately 11 kilometres north-west of Karratha.

Capital cost of the demonstration plant facilities is estimated at around AUD$70 million.

Further details of the demonstration plant can be found in a knowledge sharing report prepared by the project proponents (under a  Feasibility Study Grant Funding Agreement with ARENA – see Milestones section below).

Subject to successful completion of technical and commercial milestones and a final investment decision to proceed to construction, renewable energy and renewable ammonia production could begin in 2023.

In July 2020, ENGIE Renewables Australia Pty Ltd was one of seven short-listed applicants invited to submit a full application for the next stage of ARENA’s Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round. In early May 2021, ENGIE was announced as a recipient of a conditional funding award of AUD$42.5 million under the above Funding Round.

Milestones

February 2019: Yara International ASA and ENGIE agree to undertake a feasibility study into integrating a renewable hydrogen facility at Yara’s existing ammonia plant on the Burrup Peninsula.

February 2020: ARENA announces a grant of AUD$995,000 to support the feasibility study.

January 2021: The project is allocated AUD$2 million in grant funding (capital works) under the first round of the Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Fund, subject to conditions including the project reaching a final investment decision.

May 2021: The project is awarded conditional funding of AUD$42.5 million towards a 10 MW electrolyser to produce renewable hydrogen at an existing ammonia facility under ARENA’s Renewable Hydrogen Deployment Funding Round.

 

Updated: March 2022