OCI to Produce Green Ammonia and Methanol at Texas Plant
- 25-Sep-2023 4:04 PM
- Journalist: Harold Finch
OCI, a prominent Dutch chemical company, has successfully secured the essential feedstocks required to significantly augment the production of both green ammonia and green methanol at its facility in Beaumont, Texas.
OCI's strategic move involves the procurement of green hydrogen from New Fortress Energy, a company in the process of developing a 100 MW water electrolysis plant utilizing proton exchange membrane technology. This advanced facility will operate exclusively on renewable energy sources to generate approximately 17,000 metric tons (t) of hydrogen annually by the year 2025. The obtained green hydrogen will serve as a pivotal ingredient in OCI's mission to produce an impressive 80,000 t of ammonia each year. Furthermore, OCI is geared towards doubling its ammonia production capacity to reach 160,000 t per year by 2026.
In alignment with the broader trend in the nitrogen fertilizer industry, OCI has embarked on a significant shift towards low-carbon ammonia production. Collaborating with Linde, a leading industrial gas supplier, OCI is actively involved in a blue ammonia project located in Beaumont. Linde's role in the venture involves the construction of an autothermal reformer designed to produce hydrogen from natural gas, with a simultaneous capture and storage of by-product carbon dioxide. OCI is responsible for the construction of the ammonia plant within this project, set to commence operations in 2025.
OCI is also targeting an ambitious goal to double its green methanol production capacity at an existing facility situated in Beaumont. The company aims to achieve an annual production output of 400,000 t of green methanol. This expansion project will rely in part on renewable natural gas sources, including emissions from landfills. Additionally, OCI has outlined its intention to employ green hydrogen generated through electrolysis for the methanol production process.
Notably, OCI has been actively promoting low-carbon methanol as a viable alternative for ship fuel. The company recently achieved a milestone by fueling a new container ship operated by Maersk with green methanol in Rotterdam.
Ian Hayton, the lead analyst for materials and chemicals research at Cleantech Group, a renowned consulting firm, highlights the growing potential of green hydrogen and downstream chemical applications as renewable energy costs continue to decrease, and electrolysis units become more efficient, achieving economies of scale.
However, Hayton emphasizes that the competitiveness of such initiatives is closely tied to geographical factors. Regions abundant in alternative energy resources, such as Western Australia, possess a competitive edge. Texas, where OCI's operations are situated, stands out as a highly attractive location due to its ample availability of renewable energy. Furthermore, Texas benefits from robust U.S. government incentives, such as those outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act, specifically geared towards promoting low-carbon hydrogen initiatives.