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Taiwan Firm to Build Facilities for Hydrogen Development

Eyeing potential opportunities associated with low-carbon hydrogen, Taiwan Fertilizer Co. (TFC) is venturing into the clean energy sector by utilizing ammonia, an effective hydrogen energy carrier, according to TFC Chairman Lee Suen-zone (李孫榮).

The company plans to construct two ammonia storage facilities over the next two to three years, Lee announced Tuesday.

Established in 1946, Taiwan Fertilizer is looking to transform its business to reduce carbon emissions through various means, including a transition to clean energy using ammonia, traditionally a raw ingredient in fertilizer production, Lee said at an industrial seminar.

He also expounded on a technological breakthrough that will enable the company to use hydrogen and ammonia as renewable energy sources.

Ammonia is not only used for fertilizer production but can also be utilized as an energy carrier and zero-carbon fuel, Lee said. The chemical compound, made of hydrogen and nitrogen, does not emit carbon dioxide and can be mixed, or “co-fired,” with coal at power plants to lower carbon emissions.

Ammonia can be directly broken down into hydrogen, making it a promising source of low-carbon energy, Lee said.

Low-carbon hydrogen includes green hydrogen (hydrogen from renewable electricity), blue hydrogen (hydrogen from fossil fuels with carbon emissions reduced by the use of carbon capture use and storage), and aqua hydrogen (hydrogen from fossil fuels via the new technology).

Currently, TFC has two ammonia storage facilities and will build two more in the next two to three years to meet the huge demand for ammonia as a low carbon alternative to fossil fuels, Lee said.

The two existing ammonia storage tanks at its Taichung plant have a total capacity of 40,000 metric tons per year and total annual shipments could reach 120,000 metric tons given a turnover ratio of three times per year, according to acting TFC President Chang Chang-lang (張滄郎).

The turnover ratio could still be raised to boost ammonia supply to the Taiwan market, he added.

Developing hydrogen energy has become an important national goal, Lee said, adding that domestic hydrogen production is a better choice than importing it because it can be effectively transported only at an extremely low temperature, making importing difficult.

There is an emerging international consensus that a highly effective and cheap way to make hydrogen is through the conversion of ammonia, according to Lee.

He said that as the largest liquid ammonia supplier in Taiwan, TFC saw hydrogen development for the domestic clean energy market as a niche business and has invested in Al-Jubail Fertilizer Co., a joint venture with Saudi Basic Industries Cor. (SABIC) in Saudi Arabia, to import ammonia from the country.

Addressing the same seminar, Vice Premier Cheng Wen-tsan (鄭文燦) said he is upbeat about TFC’s ability to supply ammonia as a raw material for Taiwan Power Co. coal-fired power plants, to be co-fired with coal, as a way of cutting carbon emissions.

Many countries around the world are developing hydrogen energy, one of the cleanest energy sources, as a substitute for oil and other fuels, he said, adding that as Taiwan moves toward the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, the establishment of a hydrogen supply chain is part of the country’s hydrogen development strategy.

Source: Focus Taiwan