US Gulf lowest-cost green ammonia in 2030: Report

  • : Biofuels, E-fuels, Emissions, Fertilizers, Hydrogen, Petrochemicals
  • 24/04/16

The US Gulf coast will likely be the lowest cost source of green ammonia to top global bunkering ports Singapore and Rotterdam by 2030, according to a study by independent non-profits Rocky Mountain Institute and the Global Maritime Forum.

Green ammonia in Singapore is projected to be sourced from the US Gulf coast at $1,100/t, Chile at $1,850/t, Australia at $1,940/t, Namibia at $2,050/t and India at $2,090/t very low-sulphur fuel oil equivalent (VLSFOe) in 2030. Singapore is also projected to procure green methanol from the US Gulf coast at $1,330/t, China at $1,640/t, Australia at $2,610/t and Egypt at $2,810/t VLSFOe in 2030.

The US Gulf coast would be cheaper for both Chinese bio-methanol and Egyptian or Australian e-methanol. But modeling suggests that competition could result in US methanol going to other ports, particularly in Europe, unless the Singaporean port ecosystem moves to proactively secure supply, says the study.

In addition to space constraints imposed by its geography, Singapore has relatively poor wind and solar energy sources, which makes local production of green hydrogen-based-fuels expensive, says the study. Singapore locally produced green methanol and green ammonia are projected at $2,910/t and $2,800/t VLSFOe, respectively, in 2030, higher than imports, even when considering the extra transport costs.

The study projects that fossil fuels would account for 47mn t VLSFOe, or 95pc of Singapore's marine fuel demand in 2030. The remaining 5pc will be allocated between green ammonia (about 1.89mn t VLSFOe) and green methanol (3.30mn t VLSFOe).

Rotterdam to pull from US Gulf

Green ammonia in Rotterdam is projected to be sourced from the US Gulf coast at $1,080/t, locally produced at $2,120/t, sourced from Spain at $2,150/t and from Brazil at $2,310/t.

Rotterdam is also projected to procure green methanol from China at $1,830/t, Denmark at $2,060/t, locally produce it at $2,180/t and from Finland at $2,190/t VLSFOe, among other countries, but not the US Gulf coast .

The study projects that fossil fuels would account for 8.1mn t VLSFOe, or 95pc of Rotterdam's marine fuel demand in 2030. The remaining 5pc will be allocated between green ammonia, at about 326,000t, and green methanol, at about 570,000t VLSFOe.

Rotterdam has a good renewable energy potential, according to the study. But Rotterdam is also a significant industrial cluster and several of the industries in the port's hinterland are seeking to use hydrogen for decarbonisation. As such, the port is expected to import most of its green hydrogen-based fuel supply.

Though US-produced green fuels are likely to be in high demand, Rotterdam can benefit from EU incentives for hydrogen imports, lower-emission fuel demand created by the EU emissions trading system and FuelEU Maritime.

But the EU's draft Renewable Energy Directive could limit the potential for European ports like Rotterdam to import US green fuels. The draft requirements in the Directive disallow fuel from some projects that benefit from renewable electricity incentives, like the renewable energy production tax credit provided by the US's Inflation Reduction Act, after 2028. If these draft requirements are accepted in the final regulation, they could limit the window of opportunity for hydrogen imports from the US to Rotterdam to the period before 2028, says the study.

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