Ammonia case study shows need for coordinated cross-industry and cross-border effort to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality

30-04-2021 | P2Integrate | Research result

Ammonia case study shows need for coordinated cross-industry and cross-border effort to achieve greenhouse gas neutralityA study recently published in the journal 'Chemie, Ingenieur, Technik' underpins the necessity of a collaborative systems approach for establishing the opportunities and challenges of achieving greenhouse gas neutrality in the Northwestern Europe industrial region. VoltaChem Power-2-Integrate team members Rajat Bhardwaj and Monique Rijkers contributed to the study that focused on the infrastructure for sustainable ammonia production.

While there is a broad consensus to become Paris compliant in industry boardrooms across Northwest Europe, from a site operator’s perspective it is often far from obvious which path to take to achieve significant CO2 reduction. Chemical industries operate in an international, highly competitive market and many questions have to be answered regarding the transformation of chemical processes. For instance:

  • What changes in infrastructure are needed? Will this be a sudden or continuous change?
  • Can existing infrastructure be cost-efficiently repurposed or retrofitted?
  • What are the implications for specific sites and cross-border collaboration?

The paper in 'Chemie, Ingenieur, Technik' adresses these issues for the case of ammonia production at exemplary sites in Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands. It resulted from a collaboration of VoltaChem/TNO with the German Chemical Industry Association DECHEMA, the Belgian research institute Vito, and the German Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). 

Multiple pathways

The researchers investigated multiple pathways for potentially greenhouse gas neutral production of ammonia and compared them to today’s conventional ammonia production for chemical sites in Antwerp (Belgium), Dormagen (Germany), and Geleen (the Netherlands). This included on-site water electrolysis using grid electricity; off-site production via water electrolysis using renewable electricity and supply of green hydrogen to the site; pyrolysis of natural gas; and conventional ammonia production coupled with CO2-capture on-site and transport to a storage site. 

A substantial part of the study focused on the infrastructure required to allow the implementation of such alternative pathways, keeping in mind that ammonia production is not the only chemical process that needs to be adapted to achieve greenhouse gas neutrality for the chemical sector. 

The researchers conclude that the urgency of the challenge and its implications on the required infrastructures can only be met by a coordinated and common effort beyond national borders. Eventually, a coordinated industry-wide and cross-industry effort is needed to address the transformational changes and develop the common cross-border infrastructures.


Florian Ausfelder, Floris van de Beek, Rajat Bhardwaj, Frank Graf, Frank Meinke-Hubeny, Pieter Lodewijks, Sabrina Alexandra Müller, Monique Rijkers, Diana Perez Sanchez, and Johannes Ruf: Infrastructure Challenges Caused by Industrial Transformation to Achieve Greenhouse Gas Neutrality - Ammonia Production in the Antwerp-Rotterdam-Rhine-Ruhr Area. Chem. Ing. Tech. 2021, 93, No. 3, 373–389. DOI: 10.1002/cite.202000199

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Monique Rijkers

Business Development Power-2-Integrate & Community Manager

+31 6 233 465 16


Faruk Dervis

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+31 6 108 122 16


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