Grupo Fertiberia has enlisted the expertise of thyssenkrupp Uhde to revamp its ammonia plant in Puertollano, Spain.

Originally built in 1969 with a capacity of 600 metric tons per day (mtpd) using naphtha as a feedstock, the Puertollano ammonia plant has undergone several upgrades over the decades. Since the 1980s, thyssenkrupp Uhde has assisted Fertiberia in reducing emissions by switching the plant’s feedstock to natural gas and enhancing its energy efficiency.

In 2022, Fertiberia embarked on a more ambitious journey with its “Net Zero By 2035” strategy, initiating the production of green hydrogen via a 20MW water electrolysis unit. This marked the company’s pioneering effort in green ammonia production, setting a precedent in the energy transition within the fertilizer industry.

The New Revamp

The latest revamp focuses on maintaining the plant’s nameplate capacity while minimizing hardware modifications. The primary objective is to inject green hydrogen into the production process, thereby reducing the use of natural gas. This green hydrogen will be sourced from a 50MW water electrolysis unit powered by renewable energy, aiming to decarbonize up to 40% of the site’s production.

Fertiberia’s initiative to integrate green hydrogen into ammonia production is commendable and positions the company at the forefront of sustainable practices in the fertilizer industry. The collaboration with thyssenkrupp Uhde, a company with over a century of experience in chemical plant engineering, brings a wealth of expertise to the project.

Globally, the push towards decarbonizing ammonia production is gaining momentum. Companies like Yara and CF Industries are also exploring similar green hydrogen initiatives. Fertiberia’s approach aligns with these industry leaders, yet the true measure of success will be in the scalability and economic viability of such projects. The goal of decarbonizing 40% of the Puertollano plant’s production sets a robust benchmark; however, achieving and surpassing this target will determine Fertiberia’s leadership in the sector.

thyssenkrupp Uhde’s involvement brings advanced engineering solutions and proven technologies, such as the uhde® Dual-Pressure technology, which have set new standards in the industry. By leveraging these technologies, the project aims to not only reduce GHG emissions but also enhance the overall sustainability of ammonia production.

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