Air Liquide S.A. (Paris) announced the construction of an industrial scale ammonia (NH3) cracking pilot plant in the port of Antwerp, Belgium. When transformed into ammonia, hydrogen can be easily transported over long distances. Using innovative technology, this plant will make it possible to convert, with an optimized carbon footprint, ammonia into hydrogen (H2). With this cracking technology, Air Liquide will further contribute to the development of hydrogen as a key enabler of the energy transition.
Ammonia – a molecule made of hydrogen and nitrogen – can be used as an energy carrier. It can be produced with a low-carbon footprint from hydrogen in geographies with abundant renewable energy sources such as sun, water and wind, or other low-carbon power. A global supply chain infrastructure is already in place for its production, transportation and utilization at large scale to serve various industries. This allows regions with abundant renewable energy to export ammonia to end users across the globe, where it can be converted back to hydrogen to contribute to the decarbonization of industry and mobility. Recently, Linde and Aramco announced plans to develop ammonia cracking technologies.
The innovative pilot plant, which combines a novel efficient process with Air Liquide’s proprietary technologies, is planned to be operational in 2024. The Flemish Government, through the VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), has confirmed a financial support to the project.
For over 60 years, Air Liquide has mastered hydrogen from production, transport, storage and distribution to its final usages. Within the context of its ADVANCE strategic plan, the Group is committed to investing globally approximately 8 billion euros in the low-carbon hydrogen value chain by 2035.
Michael J. Graff, Executive Vice President, Air Liquide Group, said “Ammonia cracking complements Air Liquide’s already thorough portfolio of hydrogen technologies and adds yet another technological solution to enable the development of a hydrogen global market. More than ever, the Group is committed to making hydrogen a key element of the fight against climate change, in particular for the decarbonization of heavy industry and mobility.”