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A major project targets sustainable urea production

| By Gerald Ondrey

A consortium, led by the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO; The Hague;, has received an exceptional grant of €21 million from the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Framework Program to investigate and develop the potential of industrial symbiosis to convert residual gas emissions from steel production into resources for urea production.

Stamicarbon B.V. (Sittard, the Netherlands), MET Development S.p.A (Milan, Italy) and NextChem S.p.A. (Rome, Italy) — all subsidiaries of Maire Tecnimont Group (Rome, Italy; — participate in this consortium of steel, chemical and energy-transition companies, research institutions, universities and industrial partners active in both the steel and fertilizer industries.

The “Initiate” project (Innovative Industrial Transformation of the steel and chemical industries of Europe) will demonstrate a novel, symbiotic and circular process that transforms residual steel gases into resources for urea production. The core of this process is a modular carbon-capture utilization-and-storage (CCUS) technology, integrating the flexible conditioning of time-dependent and carbon-rich steel gases with the synthesis of ammonia.

Throughout the project, these innovative technologies and their optimal integrated operations will be proven in real industrial settings at the facilities of Swerim AB (Luleå, Sweden;, advancing to technology readiness level. The successful demonstration will enable to move forward with the construction of a first-of-a-kind plant at the scale of 150 ton/d of urea, within a timeframe of 5 years.

Stamicarbon will be responsible for the commercial implementation plan. The main objective of the demonstration plant is to justify the viability and prove the capability to produce ammonia, while in the next phase the commercial implementation plan is focused to establish an industrial-scale Initiate plant reference for the production of urea.