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Fertilizer producers to aid hydrogen economy

(Posted on 16/07/20)

The European fertilizer industry has welcomed the EU Hydrogen Strategy and particularly the recognition of

ammonia as a fuel of the future and emphasizes the potential of ammonia as energy storage technology.

By creating a sustainable and competitive environment for strategic technologies such as low-carbon hydrogen

and green ammonia, Europe will prepare a fertile ground for a strong and innovative production base and

supply of low-carbon mineral fertilizers in the EU.

Fertilizers Europe represents the majority of fertilizer producers in Europe and is recognised as the

dedicated industry source of information on mineral fertilizers.

Commenting on the publication of the EU’s Hydrogen Strategy, Fertilizers Europe Director General

Jacob Hansen said: “We welcome the EU Hydrogen strategy as it lays foundation for policies that are

expected to create a sustainable and competitive business environment for strategic technologies

such as low-carbon hydrogen and green ammonia”. He added “under the right conditions, future

fertilizer production could be based on low-carbon sources of energy, while green ammonia could be

used beyond fertilizers, for example as a maritime shipping fuel and to transport and store low

carbon energy”.

Hydrogen is the main feedstock to produce ammonia and nitrogen fertilizers. Looking long-term,

switching to clean hydrogen would be the optimal way to reduce the carbon footprint of the

fertilizer production. However, several barriers remain. “Abundant and competitively priced

electricity to produce hydrogen is a pre-condition for green ammonia to become competitive and

challenge current fertilizer production technology” Jacob Hansen stated.

The right policy framework will be key to move from words to action. Hansen underlined that

“balancing EU’s climate ambitions with industrial competitiveness will be key to a successful

implementation of this strategy. Provided that schemes considered by the Commission such as the

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism are in place to help maintain a level playing field between EU

producers who are subject to carbon costs and non-EU producers who are not, European fertilizer

producers should gain the confidence and the economic room to invest in new technologies”.

Fertilizer producers are among the biggest producers and users of hydrogen in Europe and therefore

the sector is best placed to partner with policymakers to work together towards scaling up the

technology in the most cost-effective way. Jacob Hansen said “As one of the key producers and users

of hydrogen, our sector is best placed to help upscale new technology in the most cost-effective way.

We count on cooperation with the EU, Member States and regional authorities as they will play an

important role in supporting industries in rolling out new technologies, for example by providing

financial incentives, creating markets for low-carbon products, and partaking in development of

regional hydrogen resources.”.

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