A $4.6 billion plant will make ammonia ‘the fuel of the future’
The first commercial gasification plant designed to burn waste CO2 to produce fuel will be built in California by the end of the year, according to an Australian company which has won a $1.2 billion contract to build the first unit of the plant at a cost under $1 per tonne.
The Ammonia Institute, in association with the Australian government-funded Centre for Integrated Research into Atmospheric Chemistry (CARA), has finalised the details of a large-scale plant to be built near Redding in two phases.
CARA says the Redding plant will produce 80 per cent “green” CO2 – a key requirement for an industry which aims to use waste CO2 as a replacement for oil.
The first phase will run for approximately 20 years and will convert about 3,000 tonnes of CO2 into a fuel which produces about the same volume of energy as three million barrels of oil.
Reducing CO2 emissions is one of the strategies which will help countries like Australia to meet their Paris climate agreement target of a rise in global temperatures of 1.5C to 3C.
The project’s lead author and CARA’s chief executive, Dr David Leitch, said a key outcome of the project was that they would be able to “achieve reductions of up to 65% of CO2 emission intensity”.
This would be a reduction in emissions per tonne of fuel produced of about 95g of CO2 – significantly less than the 99g of CO2 per tonne, and about three times that of coal or heavy fuel oil.
However, CARA says that the process does not need to last that long to be a major change for the economy: “This is a good way to deliver long-term benefits.”
“We are really confident that this is a game-changer and the potential of this technology is really in a place to deliver on the carbon reduction target we have set,” Dr Leitch said.
“What we’ve done is really set the