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18 Mar 2022, 13:37
Julian Wettengel

RWE aims to make LNG import terminal hydrogen-ready with green ammonia

Clean Energy Wire

Energy company RWE plans to build an ammonia terminal at the site of the planned import harbour for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the northern German city of Brunsbüttel to facilitate the conversion of the entire site “ready to import green molecules” at a later stage. Ammonia is a derivative of hydrogen but can be transported and stored much more easily. The German government had agreed to provide half of the funds necessary to build the LNG terminal in cooperation with Dutch state-owned energy company Gasunie and RWE, but said the facility would have to be “hydrogen-ready”. Instead of the direct import of hydrogen, this could be realised through ammonia, from which hydrogen could be won through a process called “cracking”, the government had said.

Ammonia is used to produce fertilizers, pharmaceutical or cleaning products. It is a gas composed of nitrogen and hydrogen, which can easily be liquefied to have large energy density at small volume. It can therefore be easily transported and stored and industry has decades of experience handling it. However, its production is very energy intensive and today the hydrogen needed often comes from fossil gas, coal, or oil through processes that release CO2.

Economy and climate minister Robert Habeck said RWE’s ammonia project would provide insights into how an LNG terminal could be converted to green hydrogen or hydrogen derivatives. “Green ammonia as a liquefied hydrogen derivative can make an important contribution to supplying Germany with green hydrogen,” he said. RWE said 300,000 tonnes of green ammonia per year would arrive at the terminal from 2026 onward.

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