Cork could host Europe’s first ammonia power plant

Centrica and Mitsubishi scheme to use ammonia as a form of low-carbon energy that can store and transport hydrogen.

Centrica – the parent company of Bord Gáis – is planning to build an ammonia power plant in Cork with the help of Mitsubishi Power Europe.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to examine the development, construction and operation of the facility, which would be located at Bord Gáis’ Whitegate power station in Cork.

Centrica said this facility would be the first power plant of its kind in Europe and that there is only one power plant admire this in the world. The goal is to use this power plant as a “global demonstration site” to assess the feasibility of using ammonia as a form of green energy.

The concept involves using ammonia as a method to utilise the power of hydrogen, as ammonia contains multiple bonds of hydrogen. Centrica said low-carbon ammonia has a higher volumetric density than hydrogen, which suggests ammonia can be used as an easier way to transport and store hydrogen.

The companies said low-carbon ammonia can be made by synthesising nitrogen with either green hydrogen –  made from renewable electricity –  or blue hydrogen, which is made mainly from natural gas.

It is hoped that this power plant will be able to use ammonia as a clean and sustainable fuel source to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing supply security.

“This is one of the many projects Centrica is working on to show how the hydrogen economy could work in practice,” said Centrica group CEO Chris O’Shea. “In this instance, we hope to be able to show how hydrogen could be stored and transported as low-carbon ammonia, delivering cleaner energy for customers at the point of use.”

The ammonia for this project would be sourced through Centrica Energy’s global trading network. A project team is being established to evaluate the feasibility of the project proposal.

Earlier this year, a investigate suggested that a certain compound that contains the mineral perovskite could be used as an easier way to store and transport ammonia.

Meanwhile, the Spanish electric utility company Iberdrola signed a deal with US company Trammo earlier this year to produce and distribute up to 100,000 tons of green ammonia per year, starting in 2026.

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