Milestone brings green ammonia production a step closer
Incitec Pivot Limited (IPL) and global green energy company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) have reached the first milestone in their quest to develop industrial-scale green ammonia production at IPL’s Gibson Island facility.
Based on the preliminary studies conducted by each party, FFI have found the project is technically feasible and issued IPL with a notice to proceed to the next phase. This allows the parties to negotiate an agreement to progress this exciting project to a Front End Engineering Design (FEED) study. The study will refine cost, schedule, permitting and commercial agreements, and inform a potential Final Investment Decision.
Located in Brisbane, the Gibson Island plant currently uses natural gas as a feedstock to produce ammonia. In October, IPL and FFI announced a partnership to investigate the feasibility of replacing gas with renewable hydrogen to produce industrial scale green ammonia.
IPL Managing Director & CEO Jeanne Johns said the partnership was part of IPL’s Ambition to be Net Zero by 2050.
“We’re committed to pursuing opportunities to help create a more sustainable world and our investigation of new and emerging technologies, such as green ammonia, is a key part of this.
“Our world class ammonia expertise is advancing progress of this exciting project and, working with FFI, we have found it is technically feasible to manufacture green ammonia at an industrial scale at Gibson Island. As an existing brownfield site, this offers many advantages.
“The next step is to work towards a joint FEED study which will verify the commercial feasibility of the project, as a step towards a potential Final Investment Decision,” Ms Johns said.
FFI Chief Executive Officer, Julie Shuttleworth AM said “FFI’s collaboration with Incitec Pivot is an exciting opportunity to harness existing infrastructure at Gibson Island, fast tracking the production of green ammonia at an industrial scale.
“Pending further approvals, this project could be Australia’s first green ammonia production facility, demonstrating existing infrastructure can be retrofitted to utilise zero-emissions energy sources.” Ms Shuttleworth said.
If the project proceeds, it is currently proposed that FFI would construct an on-site water electrolysis plant and develop and operate the hydrogen manufacturing facility, with IPL operating the ammonia manufacturing facility.
The new water electrolysis facility would produce up to 50,000 tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year and be a complete replacement of Gibson Island’s current gas feedstock. This renewable hydrogen would then be converted into more than 300,000 tonnes of green ammonia for Australian and export markets.
Ms Johns said the project provided the potential to transition Gibson Island to a renewable future, following IPL’s decision to cease manufacturing at the plant at the end of 2022.
“Last month we announced an end to manufacturing at Gibson Island in December 2022 after we were unable to secure an affordable long-term gas supply. While it was a difficult and reluctant decision, our partnership with FFI provides the potential for a renewable life for the plant.”
The partnership aligns with the strategies of both the Queensland and Federal governments to develop a clean, innovative, and competitive hydrogen industry delivering reliable domestic supply and new export opportunities.
“We are proud to play our part in developing a hydrogen industry in Australia and are looking forward to working more closely with the Queensland and Federal Governments as our study progresses.
“We are embedding our climate change agenda into our strategy so we can capitalise on commercial opportunities, as well as manage risks in a decarbonising world,” Ms Johns said.
The FEED study is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
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