Send this article to a friend:


Global Investment Surges in Green Ammonia Research and Development
Felicity Bradstock

Green ammonia is gaining in popularity as an alternative renewable energy source that can be used in fertilisers, as well as potentially for industry and shipping. An increase in the production of green ammonia could help several hard-to-abate industries decarbonise operations in line with a global green transition. Several countries around the globe are now investing heavily in research and development, to explore different applications, scale up production and reduce the costs associated with green ammonia production. 

Ammonia is produced by combining hydrogen and nitrogen using the Haber-Bosch process. This creates brown ammonia and releases carbon emissions. By contrast, green ammonia is produced using renewable energy, green hydrogen, and nitrogen from the air. It is more expensive to produce but much more environmentally friendly, massively reducing the quantity of carbon emissions associated with production. Further, the process is not reliant on natural gas. 

Around 70 percent of the ammonia produced worldwide is used in fertilisers, while the rest is used in industrial applications, such as in the production of plastics, explosives, and synthetic fibres. The demand for ammonia is expected to increase significantly in the future, in line with population growth and greater industrialisation. Companies are, therefore, aiming to produce more green ammonia in response to government pressure to support a green transition through decarbonisation. 

Many companies are looking to green ammonia as a potential sustainable fuel for the shipping sector, which is considered extremely difficult to decarbonise. As ammonia is easier and cheaper to store and transport than hydrogen, governments and private companies have been investing heavily in the sector in recent years to support decarbonisation efforts. Ammonia may also offer a long-term solution for storing and transporting renewable energy. However, the production scale remains small, with greater investment required for both research and development, as well as scaling up production. 

Several countries around the globe are expanding their green ammonia sectors in a bid to become major hubs of the clean energy sources. In the Middle East, Oman will support the Norwegian company Yara and the Indian renewable energy company Acme with their green ammonia plans. Acme will begin producing green ammonia in Oman at its planned 900,000 tonnes-per-year plant starting in 2027. The company will use solar energy to power the production process supported by Oman’s favourable renewable energy conditions. 

Magnus Ankarstrand, the President of Yara Clean Ammonia, stated, “Yara Clean Ammonia is a frontrunner in enabling the hydrogen economy across the shipping, food, power, and industrial sectors. The renewable ammonia from Oman will be part of our scalable distribution system, developing a reliable, safe, and cost-efficient supply chain for low-emission ammonia across different market segments. This agreement demonstrates the power of partnerships and collaboration to develop value chains that reduce emissions.” 

In Europe, Norway is developing its green ammonia market. The renewable energy company Fortescue is currently constructing a project off the coast of the Nordgulen fjord in the western part of Norway consisting of a 300 MW hydrogen production facility; a green ammonia synthesis plant with a nominal capacity of 675 tonnes per day; facilities for ammonia storage, water treatment and marine infrastructure; an import-export port and a water subsea pipeline. Fortescue was awarded $221 million by the EU in 2023 to support the development of the project. The new ammonia plant will be powered using surplus renewable energy from Norway’s grid, with Fortescue planning to ship green ammonia to domestic and European markets.

In Latin America, Chile has big plans for its green hydrogen sector, and it is now looking towards green ammonia production. One project currently under consideration is the $2.5-billion Volta green ammonia project, which has been proposed by the developer MAE. The company hopes to construct the facility in the Mejillones industrial zone in the northern region of Antofagasta. If approved, the plant could have a capacity of 620,000 tonnes per year of green ammonia, with power being produced by a 600 MW solar PV plant with battery storage.

The CEO of MAE Gonzalo Moyano explained the company’s reasons for choosing Mejillones for the development, stating: “Antofagasta, and especially Mejillones, has favourable conditions for the development of projects of these characteristics.” Moyano added, “Atacama desert is the place with the highest solar irradiance on the planet, which positions it as one of the best places for the production of green hydrogen and its derivatives… Likewise, Mejillones already has infrastructure, such as roads, electrical transmission infrastructure, a desalinated water network and the port infrastructure necessary to unload the equipment needed for the construction of the plant and to market the product.”

Several countries are investing in the expansion of their green ammonia industries in an attempt to diversify their clean energy mix. Green ammonia has a wide application potential, with many hoping to use the sustainable fuel to help decarbonise hard-to-abate industries, such as shipping and manufacturing. However, greater investment is required to develop production technologies to both reduce costs and scale up production. 

By Felicity Bradstock for 




Felicity Bradstock is a freelance writer specialising in Energy and Finance. She has a Master’s in International Development from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Send this article to a friend: