Green ammonia at scale: Will the ammonia economy overtake the hydrogen economy?


The largest green hydrogen projects in operation today are small in comparison to the green hydrogen and green ammonia projects of the 50-year period from 1928 to the 1970s, when cheap natural gas meant that ammonia production on electrolysers was no longer economic.

In Norway, two mega-projects were in operation using green hydropower to make hydrogen on electrolysers. Rjukan started up in 1928 with 165 MW of power flowing to 150 electrolyser modules generating 27,900 Nm3/hr of green hydrogen. At a similar scale, also using Norwegian hydropower, Glomfjord commenced in 1949. Both schemes used atmospheric pressure, alkaline electrolysis. The hydrogen was converted to ammonium nitrate, a fertiliser.

The fertile Nile delta in Egypt was the breadbasket for the Pharaohs. As the population of Egypt grew last century, agriculture intensified, and fertiliser was required. In a similar set-up to the two Norwegian projects, hydropower from the Aswan dam was used to generate green hydrogen.

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