A $4.6 billion plant will make ammonia ‘the fuel of the future’
LONDON (AFP) – British industry and government are behind a major new plant designed to eliminate dependence on imported fossil fuels for energy.
Developed by a consortium of universities, the ammonia plant, which began production work on Friday (Dec 11), will produce 40 per cent of Britain’s ammonia.
The new plant at West Burton in south Wales could become the UK’s second production hub for ammonia.
That would be crucial to the economy as a cleaner fuel, with fewer emissions of nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
“We look forward to this investment being a catalyst for a prosperous, competitive and vibrant industry in the country that will have a significant impact on jobs and on the environment,” the chief executive of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Michael Mates, said on Friday.
The new plant will be run by British and Dutch companies which will be jointly owned by Norway, Denmark, the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.
“It’s a significant moment for the UK in reducing our carbon emissions and reducing the costs of energy. I’m sure that in the years ahead it won’t be long before one of these new plants, ammonia or any other, will be up and running or being put through the paces,” British Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills Jane Kennedy said in announcing the plant’s construction.
“If we can produce ammonia from the local content of coal and shale our energy needs will be reduced and this will be good for our environment.”
She said the UK had a duty to ensure it kept up with emerging technologies in areas such as low-carbon fuels.
“It’s only by engaging in new ideas, new technologies and new ways of doing business that we can make the UK the global energy powerhouse that we all know we can be.”
The new plant will process 700,000 tonnes a year of ammonia, enough to annually process 1.2 million tonnes of coal and other hydrocarbons.
One reason is that the UK’s existing ammonia plant is ageing, and producing less volume than it was designed to produce.
West Burton is about 45 kilometres (28 miles) west of Cardiff, where the ammonia plant will be built.