Hive hydrogen and African Oxygen (Afrox) have announced plans to develop a new green ammonia plant by 2025 in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa (SA).
UK-based Hive Energy and SA renewable energy development company Built Africa have teamed up with Afrox, a Linde subsidiary, to complete a prefeasibility study for the $4.6bn enterprise. Construction is due to begin in the second quarter of 2024, with the first phase planned to go live in 3Q 2025 at 20pc operational capacity, equating to around 156,000 t/yr. The plant aims to be fully operational by 4Q 2026, ramping up to its 780,000 t/yr target.
The project is working towards a final investment decision in the second quarter of next year and financial close by the end of 2023. Hive is funding all the development itself and is working with its project partners on several financing opportunities.
SA's location and natural resources make it an ideal location for a green shipping hub. And the plant will have a dedicated solar power supply at the Coega Special Economic Zone next to the port of Ngquara, a large transhipment hub that is located on one of the busiest trade routes in the world. The renewable energy production and storage component of the project alone will be the biggest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Hive Energy CEO Giles Redpath.
Green ammonia has been identified as a possible zero emission fuel, particularly within the maritime industry. There has also been a global surge in demand for ammonia for current global agricultural, chemical and mining requirements. The plant could represent a significant development for the global supply chain, allowing SA to meet both its domestic requirements and substantial international demand. The country typically imports less than 150,000 t/yr of ammonia, GTT data show. A substantial amount of product is planned for export, primarily to far east and European offtakers. There will be some seasonal variance but sales will be balanced between ammonia for fertilizers, coal substitution and mining use.
The project is also in line with the county's plans to reach net zero by 2050.