World's largest? Construction begins at China's biggest green ammonia plant




Da'an project will produce 32,000 tonnes of green hydrogen and 180,000 tonnes of NH3 a year on full commissioning


Chinese utility Jilin Electric Power yesterday (Monday) started construction on what could be the world’s largest green ammonia (NH3) plant.


The Da'an Wind and Solar Green Hydrogen Synthesis Ammonia Integration Demonstration Project, located in an industrial park in the city of Da’an, Jilin province, will produce 32,000 tonnes of H2 and 180,000 tonnes of NH3 per year, with the first phase due to start operations in 2024.


Electrolyser supplier Longi describes the project as the world's largest, but that would depend on when the plant is fully commissioned and how large the first phase is.


The Neom green hydrogen and ammonia complex in Saudi Arabia is expected to produce 1.2 million tonnes per year of NH3 by the end of 2026, while a project by chemicals company Unigel in Brazil aims to quadruple output to 240,000 tonnes a year by 2025.


And it may not even remain the largest green ammonia project in China for too long, as a 390,000 tonnes-a-year project is scheduled to start up its first phase in 2025.




Jilin Electric Power will install 89 electrolysers from domestic suppliers — 50 proton-exchange membrane (PEM) and 39 alkaline — capable of producing 46,000 normal cubic metres of H2 an hour. That suggests an electrolyser capacity of about 230MW — just 30MW shy of the world's largest completed green hydrogen project, also in China.


Local reports also indicate that the 39 alkaline electrolysers are each around 5MW, suggesting that the PEM electrolysers may be particularly small.


While China has a mature alkaline-electrolyser industry, the PEM sector is still in its early stages of development.


Confirmed suppliers of the alkaline systems include Longi (which won a bid for 15 sets) and Sany Hydrogen (8 sets). Reports also link Sungrow, which makes PEM and alkaline electrolysers, to the project.


The Da’an development in northeast China will be powered by 800MW of wind and solar and 40MW/80MWh of energy storage, with a hydrogen storage capacity of 60,000 normal cubic metres (5.4 tonnes).


However, sources conflict on exactly how much the project will cost. Longi indicated in a press release in April that it would cost around $920bn, while local reports put the figure closer to 6.332bn yuan ($878m) for the full project, with an initial investment of 5.956bn yuan ($826m) for the 39 alkaline electrolysers.


Hydrogen valley


The Da’an green ammonia project has been listed as a key strategic project by both the provincial government of Jilin and the national State Power Investment Corporation.


The Jilin government last November released a strategy aimed at forming a hydrogen valley, targeting 60,000-80,000 tonnes of annual renewable hydrogen production capacity and 250,000-350,000 tonnes a year of derivatives such as ammonia and methanol by 2025.


This rises to 300,000-400,000 tonnes per year of green H2 production capacity by 2030, with derivatives reaching two million tonnes per annum.


The provincial government anticipates that the “output value” of its hydrogen industry could be 30bn yuan by 2030, rising to 100bn yuan by 2035.



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