Gqeberha, South Africa – As the world looks to green solutions to reduce the devastating impact of climate change and deliver on its COP26 commitments, Hive Hydrogen and Linde announce the establishment of a 780,000 ton/year $4.6bn Green Ammonia Plant with its own dedicated power supply at the Coega Special Economic Zone alongside the Port of Ngqura.
There is massive surge in demand for ammonia globally to meet current agricultural, chemical and mining requirements and this, together with the future switch to Green Ammonia as the main fuel in the maritime industry and for coal substitution, makes this the perfect time to invest in this commodity.
Thulani Gcabashe Chairman of Hive Hydrogen South Africa and Executive Chairman of Built Africa, stated that “Hive Hydrogen is truly delighted to bring this landmark Green Ammonia project to Nelson Mandela Bay. This certainly heralds a new era for the country in its commitments to greener solutions for industry. The pure scale of the project and the clean technology being used is truly remarkable”
Hive Energy CEO, Giles Redpath said, “Hive Energy UK have been working on renewable energy powered Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia projects since 2019 and are very pleased that we, together with Built Africa and Afrox, have reached this critical milestone in our completion of the pre-feasibility studies for this project. We can now confidently announce our collective aspiration to move forward to Final Investment Decision and commencing the development of this world leading project at the Coega Special Economic Zone. The renewable energy and energy storage component alone will be the biggest project of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa and one of the largest globally.”
Schalk Venter, CEO of Afrox, remarked, “Southern Africa is one of a few regions around the world with very favourable conditions for green hydrogen and ammonia production and export. We are excited to be working on this transformative project in Nelson Mandela Bay with Hive Hydrogen South Africa to deliver the project’s full envisaged capacity producing 780,000 tons of Ammonia annually for export to world markets. Through our parent company’s engineering division, proven global expertise and technology, we’ll support this project’s feasibility, engineering design and development phases”.”.
Eugene Johnson the Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay added. “This is the breakthrough project for South Africa and indeed Nelson Mandela Bay in the global drive for sustainable green industry. We are proud to be leading the way and working closely with Hive Hydrogen and Afrox on establishing the Coega Green Ammonia plant with its green power requirements. The investment in job creation, training, new and clean industry, and the significant community benefits that this brings will be a great boost to the transformation programme we are planning for the region”
Hive Hydrogen are also being supported by InvestSA, a branch of the South African Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, specifically with investment facilitation through the InvestSA One Stop Shop mechanism. According to Yunus Hoosen, Head: InvestSA, “The Department of Trade, Industry & Competition recognises the importance of the green hydrogen sector in contributing to increased investment and industrial development opportunities. The Department’s work in this regard is coordinated through the High Level Panel on Hydrogen, established by Minister Ebrahim Patel.”
Hive Hydrogen recognises that the 9003-hectare Coega Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) destination of choice and a leading SEZ on the continent. In line with its strategy, the Coega SEZ is building an impressive platform for sustainable investments in South Africa. Its focus on sustainability strengthens the value proposition for investors of the future. All sustainable investment projects will benefit from the Coega SEZ’s world-class and modern infrastructure, government incentives, ISO certified systems and processes, one-stop-shop systems supported by InvestSA, and its proximity to two sea-ports, including the deep-water Port of Ngqura, the world-class transhipment hub which is expanding its bulk liquid shipping facilities too.
How the Green Ammonia Plant Works
Using renewable energy, water is desalinated, and Hydrogen is extracted from it through an electrolysis process. Nitrogen is simultaneously extracted from the air utilising an air separation unit.
The Hydrogen and Nitrogen are then combined through ammonia synthesis and Green Ammonia is produced. The ammonia is cooled, liquified and stored for export.
Once the ship arrives in the port the liquid ammonia is dispatched directly via a pipeline from the storage tanks and loaded onto the ship.
The Green Hydrogen and Green Ammonia Revolution
The global climate change imperative limiting global warming to an increase of no more than +1.5ºC by 2050 has overwhelmingly been driven by the switch to renewable energy which provides the cleanest and lowest cost power source.
As fossil fuel and dirty power generation is phased out, Hydrogen – which is produced from sea or fresh water using Electrolysis powered by renewable energy – has been widely recognised as the world’s ‘go to green fuel’ and the most important global economy driver of the future.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) believes the production of hydrogen from renewables has the potential to deliver 19 exajoules of energy in 2050. Some 16 TW of solar and wind power generation capacity – 120 exajoules – may be needed to generate green hydrogen or related products from electrolysis by that point – compared to total renewables production of just over one 1 Terrawatt today.
The production of a very large volume of hydrogen from renewable power, in combination with hydrogen storage, will help provide long term seasonal flexibility and bring stability and certainty to the global fuel supply system.
Brown ammonia production currently accounts for almost 1.5% of the worlds CO2 emissions.
Manufacturing Hydrogen from water through Electrolysis, and combining it with Nitrogen from air produces Green Ammonia.
This process underpins Hive Hydrogen’s project which will deliver a sustainable green ammonia supply.
John Drinkwater, Managing Director of Cerebos, Africa’s largest salt product s producer and the supplier of water for the project said “When Hive first approached us two years ago we were amazed at the vision they had for their project in Nelson Mandela Bay and how we could work together in such a mutually beneficial way to provide them with desalinated, demineralised water whilst they keep their production chain, which includes Cerebos, powered by green energy. Sustainability and the success of our beautiful country is a key focus for Cerebos and it is an absolute privilege to be involved in a project such as this. We are delighted to have them as our neighbour and to form part of the team to bring this magnificent project to fruition.’”
Local support and the Environment
Peter Lake, owner of Tankatara Farm where the on-site solar plant will be located said “We have been farming here for four generations and have seen first-hand, the negative effects of climate change on the viability of our farming operation. We are impressed with the way Hive have been going about striking a balance between land utilisation, protecting the environment and bringing renewable power supplies and green industry to life.”
Japie Buckle, Managing Director of Hive Ecosystems added “Not only is the Ammonia that will be produced a vital part of the Green Industrial Revolution to help achieve global carbon emission reduction targets, but we are also putting in a huge effort to make sure we consult with all stakeholders in the vicinity to ensure we properly protect the unique areas on Tankatara – including its magnificent 500 year old thicket and the sensitive bird and wildlife habitats.
This ground-breaking green ammonia project will contribute immensely towards the country’s low carbon economy, climate resilience, and socio-economic development. It is in line with South Africa’s Long-Term Low Emissions Development Strategy (SA-LEDS) 2050 and the revised Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in which the country plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.
All the stakeholders recognise and are committed to the country’s vision of achieving the net zero target through a just transition in an inclusive manner so that all are protected against the risk – and will benefit from the opportunities presented by this transition, leaving no one behind.