Topsoe’s solid oxide electrolyser cells (SOEC) will be installed in First Ammonia’s green ammonia plants globally with operations scheduled to start from 2025.

The agreement – among the largest electrolysed reservation of any type – covers the production of industrial scale SOECs to produce green ammonia for transport, power storage and generation, and fertiliser, displacing almost 5 bcm of natural gas and saving 13m tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year.

It provides for an initial purchase of 500MW of SOEC units and is expandable to up to 5GW over the agreement’s lifetime.

The first 500 MW of capacity will be installed in green ammonia plants in Northern Germany and Southwestern United States.

Topsoe’s SOEC manufacturing plant is to be built in Herning, Denmark, and has recently received FID from the board. First Ammonia will operate all its plants to support existing renewable power markets.

Joel Moser, CEO of First Ammonia, said it has the “utmost confidence” in Topsoe and its storied scientists and engineers, which is why we have chosen Topsoe as our partner.

Moser said it will develop facilities around the world to produce “millions of tonnes” of green ammonia from water and air.

He added that, just as ammonia saved humanity from starvation a century ago as a replacement for depleted sources of fertilisers, it can save humanity once again as the workhorse of the hydrogen economy, replacing petrochemicals to decarbonise agriculture, transportation and power storage and generation.

Roeland Baan, CEO of Topsoe, said, “We need to accelerate the development and industrialisation of sustainable solutions, while also increasing energy independence, which is why we are delighted to partner with First Ammonia on the global development of its green ammonia facilities.”

Sundus Cordelia Ramli, Chief Commercial Officer for Power to X at Topsoe, said the agreement leverages Topsoe’s 80-plus years of  ammonia experience and is evidence of the many benefits of SOEC, including lowering project costs as the most efficient electrolyser technology.

Green ammonia has the highest volumetric energy density out of all the hydrogen-based energy sources – much more than pure hydrogen – which makes it cheap and easy to store and transport. 

With an existing global ammonia infrastructure, green ammonia can quickly and easily replace hydrocarbon-based fuels for a wide range of use cases, with ammonia fueled ships already on order and ammonia power stations under development.

By operating dynamically producing ammonia during off-peak power demand hours, First Ammonia will be a net contributor to the economics of renewable power production, providing for the further build-out of additional renewable power wherever they build a production plant.

Shipping emits over 1bn tonnes of CO2 each year and ammonia production emits another 500m. Together, they account for 5% of the world’s annual CO2 footprint.

KBR was recently awarded a study to develop a carbon-neutral, green ammonia-based power system for a semi-submersible drilling unit owned by Odfjell. KBR will collaborate with Odfjell, Equinor and Wärtsilä to assess conversion of the diesel generators on board drilling units to ammonia-fuelled generators.

The green ammonia market, valued at around $35m in 2021, is projected to have a CAGR of 71% in the following five years.