Harnessing Ammonia's Hydrogen Component for Clean Energy
The global focus on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions has created a push to decarbonize economies.
To achieve global climate goals and reduce GHG emissions, the world needs to dramatically increase and scale clean energy technology. Hydrogen has emerged as a leading candidate for a scalable clean energy source.
Ammonia, because it does not emit carbon when burned and is able to be stored and transported relatively easily, is increasingly seen as a vehicle to deliver hydrogen for clean energy.
Industry experts project hydrogen will meet approximately 20% of the world’s energy need by 2050, up from less than 1% today.
Decarbonizing the Ammonia Production Process
Unlocking ammonia’s full value as an alternative fuel and hydrogen enabler requires CF Industries to decarbonize the ammonia production process. Typical modern steam methane reforming (SMR) ammonia plant results produces approximately 2 tons of carbon dioxide produced for every 1 ton of ammonia.
Today, we are maximizing efficiency and reducing emissions intensity (emissions per metric ton of ammonia produced) in the following ways:
- Choice of feedstock: The two most common hydrogen feedstocks for ammonia production are natural gas and coal. All CF Industries facilities use natural gas, which results in one-third the carbon emissions compared to the use of coal.
- Investing in our manufacturing network: CF Industries continually invests in our locations to improve safety, energy efficiency, and reliability. Over the past 10 years, we have invested approximately $10 billion in our facilities to enhance safety, improve efficiency, and add state-of-theart manufacturing technologies. As a result, CF Industries operates some of the most energyefficient ammonia and nitrogen fertilizer plants in the world.
- High-efficiency operations: Emissions are closely related to our energy use, which is largely a function of our production volumes. Our capacity utilization is among the highest in our industry and has, over the last five years, been 14 percentage points better than our peers in North America. This allows us to produce more product tons for the same energy inputs.
Clean Energy Initiatives
To accelerate our efforts, CF Industries has committed to decarbonize our ammonia production network and established a goal to reduce total CO2 e emissions intensity by 25% per ton of product by 2030 (2015 baseline). Our management approach has allowed us to achieve a 14% reduction in emissions intensity through 2021 compared to the baseline. Longer-term, our goal is to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The Company has developed a series of initiatives to achieve these goals. These include constructing North America's first commercial-scale green ammonia production capacity, investing in blue ammonia capacity and the development of a list of viable greenhouse gas-reduction capital projects across our facilities.
Learn more about our clean energy initiatives.
Clean Energy Applications of Ammonia
Market demand for low-carbon ammonia and fertilizers continues to grow