OSLO, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Norway's Yara and Sweden's
Lantmaennen will next year introduce products that could
eventually become the world's first fossil-free nitrogen
fertilisers, as they strive to decarbonise food production, the
companies said on Thursday.
Yara, a top global nitrogen fertiliser maker, said using
ammonia made from European renewable energy would reduce the
carbon footprint of the finished products by 80-90% compared
with using ammonia made from natural gas.
Lantmaennen, an agricultural cooperative, will market the
products in Sweden. Using green fertilisers could reduce wheat
cultivation's climate impact by 20 percentage points, it said.
Ammonia is a key chemical building-block for making
fertiliser that releases nitrogen - an essential nutrient for
growing plants - into the soil.
Oslo-based Yara plans to cut all CO2 emissions from its
ammonia plant in Porsgrunn in southern Norway https://www.reuters.com/article/yara-esg-idUSKBN28H1FM,
and also has green ammonia projects in the Netherlands and
It is currently installing a 24 megawatt (MW) pilot
electrolyser plant at Porsgrunn, with a capacity of 20,500
tonnes of ammonia per year forming the basis for 60,000-80,000
tonnes of fossil-free mineral fertiliser.
"This is large enough that we can start on commercial scale
and to develop the market and create demand for the product,"
Yara's Chief Executive Svein Tore Holsether told Reuters.
"We're preparing to produce fertiliser for the world," he
Currently, the remaining components of mineral fertilisers -
potassium and phosphorus - generate some carbon emissions, but
the expectation is that these could eventually be eliminated
How much more expensive the fossil-free products would be
compared with conventional products is hard to say given highly
volatile power and gas prices in Europe, Holsether said.
European gas prices soared more than 800% in 2021 to hit an
unprecedented level of over 180 euros per megawatt hour last
year, leading some ammonia suppliers, including Yara, to
temporarily curb output.
The decarbonisation of the food value chain wouldn't
realistically be carried out by farmers alone but would need
incentives, Holsether said.
"Carbon taxes are key ... to lift affordability, or
competitiveness, of the green products that today have to
compete with fossil fuel alternatives with hardly any carbon
taxes on them," Holsether said.
(Reporting by Victoria Klesty
Editing by Mark Potter)