Yara targets to become carbon neutral by 2050. An essential part of this target is to produce mineral fertilizer without greenhouse gas emissions. Such production is technically possible today, but far from being economical profitable. To achieve a profitable green fertilizer product, new improved production processes is required that is characterized by reduced energy consumption through new developed technology and extensive internal energy recovery and integration.
The project will develop new highly efficient combined production of green hydrogen and chemicals with solid oxide cell technology for flexible H2 and power production combined with coproduction of useful chemicals .
Electrolysis of water for the industrial-scale production of hydrogen has been carried out for over 100 years; and until the advent of low-cost steam reforming; was a major source of industrial hydrogen. As the electrolysis cells were often supplied with hydroelectric power, much of the hydrogen produced by them was green.
If there is available heat energy at a site to generate high temperature steam, the electrolysis of steam using solid-oxide membranes - a Solid Oxide Electrolyzer (SOE) - requires less electrical energy than water electrolysis.
The GreenH2chemical project aims to demonstrate a further large saving in electrical power by coupling the production of green hydrogen by the electrolysis of steam; with the coproduction of useful chemicals, which consume the oxygen extracted from the steam and transported by the solid-oxide membrane.
Achievement of the project targets will be an opportunity for future profitable green fertilizer production, and giving Yara a competitive position in a sustainable fertilizer and food market.
The grand idea in GreenH2Chem is to develop an efficient, sustainable, and flexible electrochemical technology for interconversion of electrical and chemical energy with ammonia and steam as feeds and hydrogen and nitrogen oxides as products. With this technology, Yara aims to become carbon neutral within 2050. The project idea is to use an electrochemical cell to coproduce hydrogen from steam, and NOx from ammonia. By combining their beneficial demand for energy (steam to hydrogen) and energy production (ammonia to NOx); a win-win situation is generated energy-wise. In addition, the aim is to develop such technology to a level that it can work both as electrolyser for production of hydrogen and as fuel cell for production of power. This will be particularly beneficial for future plants based on non-dispatchable, intermittent electrical power; where the turn-down of critical plant items cannot be 100%, as they require a continuous supply of electrical power. Thus, liquid ammonia becomes the energy storage medium to handle electrical power intermittency, as well as the chemical feed-stock for the nitric acid production.