Grupo Fertiberia leads the next energy revolution

Javier Goñi

Grupo Fertiberia deploying the first large-scale green ammonia & fertiliser plant in Sweden.

With an investment requirement of more than 1 billion euros, “Green Wolverine” aims to enter into production by 2026. The project will create more than 2,000 jobs during construction and 500 in operation.

Sweden one of the few countries in the EU without fertiliser production, will become self-sufficient and one of the world’s first exporters of low carbon ammonia & fertilizers.

Madrid – With “Grupo Fertiberia” emphasizing its quest to achieve leadership in the production of green hydrogen and clean fuels globally, which will make it the most important destination internationally in providing sustainable solutions, in addition to facing the challenges of climate change through practical solutions to reduce carbon emissions.

Grupo Fertiberia, the largest producer of crop nutrition solutions in the Iberian Peninsula, is taking a decisive step to lead the energy transition of the European fertiliser industry. The company signed a “Memorandum Of Understanding” with the Region of Norrbotten (Sweden) and its investment agency to develop the world’s first 100% green and emission-free ammonia and fertiliser site. Ammonia is a versatile product, easier to transport and to store than hydrogen. It can be used instead of gas for energy purposes and to decarbonise shipping transport.

The project will require an investment of more than 1 billion euros and could become operational by 2026. The site, based on electrolysis technology, will only use water and air as raw materials. It will be supplied with renewable energy from wind and hydropower sources. This initiative, known as “Green Wolverine”, builds on Grupo Fertiberia’s decarbonisation efforts in Spain, as well as on the exceptional conditions offered by the Norrbotten region, where 100% of electricity production already comes from renewable sources.

Energy experts are positioning green hydrogen as an answer to global energy demands of the future, to the extent that it could generate the equivalent of more than 10 billion barrels of oil over the next three decades, representing about 40% of the market’s oil-based power generation worldwide. the scientist.

This project, which looks forward to incorporating different industrial and financial partners, reinforces Grupo Fertiberia’s leadership in the production of green hydrogen and ammonia for industrial use. Grupo Fertiberia, in partnership with Iberdrola, already launched the first industrial-scale green ammonia plant in Spain. In the coming months, a 20 MW electrolyser will be operational at the Puertollano plant, and in 2023, another one that is 10 times more powerful (200 MW) will be operational at the Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) plant. Green hydrogen is a raw material used to produce green ammonia (which is, in turn, used as the basis for producing low-carbon fertilisers and other solutions. In Spain, this plan will continue to be carried out in phases until reaching a total of 800 MW electrolysers in 2027, with a total investment of 1.8 billion euros.

Hydrogen gas

Hydrogen is one of the chemical elements symbolized by the symbol H. It is one of the light elements that is abundantly available in nature. It has no colour, odor, or taste. It cannot exist alone in nature, but rather be united to form different chemical compounds, whether in gaseous state such as natural gas, or liquid such as water. Or solid, such as hydrocarbon compounds, and since hydrogen gas is a light gas, as it does not release gases when burned, it has become qualified to be a fuel for the future.
In the transportation sector, hydrogen fuel represents one of the most promising options for reducing carbon emissions for transportation, due to its low density, which makes it light in weight, and its short charging time compared to the charging time of batteries used in electric cars. Hydrogen has applications not limited to generating electricity, but it can also be burned to generate power in rocket propulsion engines.
Hydrogen is used to produce high heat that meets the needs of heavy industries. It can also be employed as a chemical raw material in the steel industry, ammonia production, refineries, etc., or as industrial methane to reduce processes that cause high emissions of carbon dioxide, as well as in the production of cement and plastic industries.

What is green hydrogen?

Green hydrogen is a fuel whose production depends on the process of electrolysis of water (consisting of oxygen and hydrogen) based on energy from renewable energy sources, thus achieving a complete cycle that produces environmentally friendly fuel, because hydrogen itself is a clean fuel used in hydrogen fuel cells to operate cars (and perhaps aircraft in the future), and its only emission is water.
However, the traditional hydrogen production process, which involves exposing fossil fuels to steam, is far from carbon-free. The hydrogen produced in this way is called gray hydrogen, and if carbon dioxide is isolated from it, it is known as blue hydrogen.
Green hydrogen is different. It is produced by electrolysis using machines that break down water into hydrogen and oxygen, without any byproducts.

Green hydrogen production

The electrolysis of water usually requires the consumption of a large amount of electrical energy, which has hampered hydrogen production in this way for decades. With the change of the situation according to scientific development, electrolysis machines witnessed an increase in their efficiency, in addition to the availability of a surplus of renewable electricity in large quantities in the electricity distribution networks; Instead of storing excess electricity in large batches of batteries, it can be used in the electrolysis of water, and the electricity is then ‘stored’ as hydrogen.
Why green hydrogen?

With solar and wind power, or in sun-rich regions where electricity is much cheaper to generate than electricity based on fossil fuels, the prices of green hydrogen from electrolysis are very close to those of gray hydrogen produced using hydrocarbon fuels; The latter type of hydrogen is not an improvement on conventional fuels in terms of CO2 emissions and its impact on climate change.
Green hydrogen can also increase the share of renewable energy; It can be stored for longer periods, and can be transported to places where there is no possibility of generating renewable energy, and it is possible for a variety of industrial sectors,
Hydrogen is also a versatile, clean and resilient energy carrier, and in many sectors represents the best or only alternative to stopping carbon emissions.

Now with the Green Wolverine project in Sweden, a new site in the Luleå-Boden area will be created that will be innovative in both its design and its development, with more than 600 MW of electrolysers, a green ammonia plant producing 1.500 tonnes/day, and an annual production of more than half a million tonnes of low-carbon fertilisers and industrial products. In addition to the latest electrolyser technology, the new site will be equipped with state-of-the-art processes, complying with the highest environmental and safety standards. Grupo Fertiberia will incorporate its extensive experience & knowhow in operations and engineering into the design and operation of the new facility.
This investment, which will create 2,000 jobs during the construction phase and another 500 highly skilled jobs when it starts operating, will contribute to the creation of a new green ammonia & fertilizer hub in this country, thus improving food security and self-sufficiency in Sweden and in the EU. The green ammonia produced by Green Wolverine will furthermore be used to decarbonise strategic sectors of the economy, such as maritime transport or the mining industry, to name just two examples.
Jan Larsson, CEO of The Swedish Trade & Invest Council (Business Sweden) who was briefed on the project noted that, “An investment like this will contribute both to jobs creation and increased food production. But maybe even more importantly, it will lead to a reduction of Sweden’s climate footprint”.
“Grupo Fertiberia hopes to become the leader of future sustainable crop nutrition in Europe. For that purpose, we are aware of the importance of developing fertilisers based on clean energy and locally produced”,

declares Javier Goñi, CEO of the company. “The Norrbotten project is a new and decisive step towards our goal to produce low carbon fertilisers”. Right now, the company “is working on the detailed design & engineering of the project and is searching for partners who might contribute to making this project a reality and thereby decisively support the ambition demonstrated by Sweden in relation to energy transition and food self-sufficiency”. Sweden has no local production and imports about 600,000 tonnes each year.

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