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ARENA is stumping up almost $3 million for two Central Queensland sites to assess the feasibility of building ammonia plants fed by renewable hydrogen.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will provide $980,000 for Dyno Nobel and $1.9 million for Queensland Nitrates.

The companies will assess the feasibility of building a renewable ammonia facility at their existing ammonia plants at Moranbah and Moura.

A consortium led by QNP and partners Neoen and Worley proposes to produce 20,000 tonnes per year of ammonia from 3600 tonnes of renewable hydrogen at Moura.

The new plant would provide up to 20 per cent of Queensland Nitrates’ current ammonia requirements, which is presently manufactured from natural gas.

The renewable hydrogen would also fill an ammonia production gap that QNP currently procures from third party suppliers.

The second proposed green ammonia facility would include up to a 160MW electrolyser and 210MW solar farm co-located at Dyno Nobel’s Moranbah facility.

That Dyno Nobel site currently manufactures more than 360,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate annually for supply to mining customers.

It uses natural gas as its feedstock to make hydrogen for ammonia.

The $2.7 million feasibility study will look at the potential to use renewable hydrogen produced via electrolysis to increase ammonia production at its facility to meet increased demand in the region for ammonium nitrate.

Ammonia production is the largest use of hydrogen, consuming half of total global hydrogen supplied production. 

ARENA chief executive officer Darren Miller described the initiatives as the first step to decarbonising the ammonia sector.

It would also help to progress the commercialisation of renewable hydrogen for domestic and international use, he said. 

“Hydrogen is a huge opportunity for Australia, both for domestic use and as an export opportunity – and we believe that you cannot realise the export potential without a domestic market, which is why ARENA is looking to fund renewable ammonia and other domestic applications.”

Ammonia operations look into ‘green’ hydrogen option