FertigHy selects region in France to build low-carbon fertilizer plant

May 14, 2024

FertigHy has selected Northern France for the site of the company’s first low-carbon fertilizer plant, slated for start-up from 2030.

The company will build the plant in the Hauts-de-France region with an expected capacity of 500,000 MT/year of nitrogen products, including ammonium nitrate, calcium ammonium nitrate, nitric acid and ammonia.

With a capex of Euro 1.3 billion, the plant is expected to be in operation by 2030 and will use renewable and low-carbon electricity to produce hydrogen. This will then be converted to ammonia using an electrolysis process, instead of using steam reforming to remove the hydrogen from natural gas.

The company says it will receive support from the French government for the project, although it did not specify the nature of the support in the 13 May statement.

“Running on renewable and low-carbon electricity, this plant is a decisive step towards the production of European-made fertilisers and towards reducing imports of mineral nitrogen fertilisers,” said José Antonio de las Heras, CEO of FertigHy.

Construction of the factory is scheduled to begin in 2027, with a second planned to be built in Spain. The company’s shareholders are EIT InnoEnergy, RIC Energy, MAIRE, Siemens Financial Services, InVivo and HEINEKEN.

The original plans announced by FertigHy when it launched in June 2023 were for the first plant to be built in Spain, producing one million MT/y of nitrogen-based fertilisers per year, with construction planned to start in 2025.

Using a five-year average from UNIFA (2018-2023), the French fertilizer association, deliveries for ammonium nitrate (AN) to the French market averaged 2.3 million metric tonnes. The 2022/2023 season for ammonium nitrate was lower than normal at 1.73 million tonnes, according to UNIFA figures. This could be attributed to the high price of fertilizer during 2023. If the FertigHy plant runs to capacity and the product mix is focussed on AN, then it might form approximately one-quarter of the French consumption of AN.

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