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Maire Tecnimont Group begins work on renewable power-to-fertilizer plant in Kenya

By Gerald Ondrey |

Maire Tecnimont S.p.A. (Milan, Italy) announces that its subsidiaries MET Development S.p.A. (Milan), Stamicarbon B.V. (Sittard, Netherlands) and NextChem S.p.A. (Rome) have started work on a renewable power–to-fertilizer plant in Kenya. MET Development has signed an agreement with Oserian Development Co. for the development of the plant at the Oserian Two lakes Industrial Park located on the southern banks of Lake Naivasha, 100 km North of Nairobi.

Oserian Two Lakes Industrial Park is a new 150-hectare sustainable development in Nakuru County. Its aim is to provide a safe landing spot for vision-aligned businesses and investors and become a demonstration case for East Africa’s sustainable industrialization. The Industrial Park is privately owned and operated by Oserian Development Company and is the anchor to a 7,500-hectare mixed-use development, called Oserian Two Lakes, which comprises horticulture, industry and commerce, residential, tourism and wildlife conservation across three valleys.

The renewable power-to-fertilizer plant will support Kenya’s low carbon and inclusive growth, its agricultural output and its smallholder farmers and communities. The plant will be located near the country’s largest geothermal energy basin and will be partly powered by solar energy sources produced on-site — displacing the need for fossil fuels — and eliminating carbon from the production. The facility will reduce carbon emission with approximately 100,000 ton/yr of CO2, compared to a gas-based fertilizer plant. The project will also reduce the dependency of imported nitrogen fertilizers and substitute around 25%, of which the total accounts for around 800,000 ton/yr (source: Argus Media, 2019).

Furthermore, the project will increase fertilizer affordability and ensure the availability of fertilizers at the right time in the season for fertilizer application.

Maire Tecnimont Group’ Stamicarbon, the innovation and license company and world market leader in designing fertilizer plants will provide both its Stami Green Ammonia Technology to produce ammonia and its Nitric Acid technology as an integrated technology package for the manufacturing of nitrate fertilizer. The technology configuration – which is characterized by a modularized approach and is therefore ideal for small scale facilities — will be the first of its kind, although based on proven technology.

The renewable power-to-fertilizer project targets to produce 550 metric tons per day (m.t./d) of calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN) and/or NPK fertilizers (fertilizers based on nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) and will be the first state-of-the-art, commercial-scale nitrate fertilizer plant from renewables. MET Development is currently engaging with local and international partners to set up the development consortium.

The project has started preliminary engineering works and NextChem aims to start the front-end engineering design (FEED) by the end of 2021. The goal is to start commercial operation of the plant in 2025, which will be dedicated to local Kenyan agri-business. The fertilizer product is predominately produced as CAN and will have the flexibility to produce NPK fertilizers in addition to meet the demand of local agricultural requirements.

The project will utilize approximately 70 MW of renewable power, will create the starting point for locally produced Kenyan fertilizer and is expected to directly generate over one hundred jobs in the region, while supporting the broader economy and its farmers.

Pierroberto Folgiero, CEO of Maire Tecnimont Group commented: “We are very pleased to announce the start of this exciting project thanks to the collaboration with a pioneering player such as Oserian Development Company. With this strategic initiative we aim to unlock the potential of decarbonizing the fertilizer industry using renewable energy as a feedstock. Kenya has a unique potential to provide renewable energy, making it an ideal location for local green power-to-fertilizer production, replacing import of nitrogen fertilizer. With this first very promising initiative we confirm our expertise in project development in green energy, by acting as an end-to-end developer and technological integrator capable of connecting the key factors which are necessary to industrialize the green economy globally”.

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