Unigel plans $120 million green hydrogen plant

By Keefe Borden29 July 2022

Unigel’s plant will ultimately produce around 40,000 tons of green hydrogen annually (Photo: Unigel.)

Brazil’s Unigel plans to build a $120 million industrial scale green hydrogen plant in an industrial complex on the country’s east coast

The plant is expected to be the largest integrated green hydrogen and green ammonia plant in the world once fully complete. Initial production will start in late 2023. In the first phase of the project, Unigel will install three 20 MW standard electrolyzers. The company plans to quadruple its production of green hydrogen in the years following the inauguration by expanding the electrolyzer plant to a multi-hundred MW facility, which will ultimately produce around 40,000 tons of green hydrogen annually.

Located in the Camaçari Industrial Complex (BA), the new plant will have an initial production capacity of 10,000 tons/year of green hydrogen and 60,000 tons/year of green ammonia. The products will be offered to customers who aim to decarbonize their production chains, e.g. the steel industry, oil refining, and e-fuels, the company said.

Green ammonia will also be used in the value chain of Unigel, as it is a raw material in the manufacturing of fertilizers and acrylics. “Given the potential of Brazil in the generation of wind and solar energy, we believe that the country has a great opportunity to be a reference for the world in green hydrogen, a solution that brings versatility to transform renewable energy into raw materials and zero carbon fuels”, says Roberto Noronha Santos, CEO of Unigel.

Brazil’s energy mix already has a very high share of renewables. Around three quarters of the energy used in electrolysis of the project comes from renewable sources, the company said.

Unigel is one of the largest chemical companies in Latin America and the largest manufacturer of nitrogen fertilizers in Brazil.

“Throughout our nearly 60-year history, we have always been attentive to technological innovations and have invested to meet industrial and agribusiness demands. With this project, Unigel takes the first step towards the decarbonization of several sectors, contributing substantially to combating climate change on the planet”, emphasizes Henri Slezynger, Chairman of the Board of Directors and founder of Unigel.

“This project is the first of its kind in Brazil and reinforces the pioneering spirit of Unigel to produce green molecules on an industrial scale. As Brazil is one of the world-leading countries in terms of installed renewable energy, we are pleased to enter this partnership to to make green hydrogen an affordable energy vector already today,” says Werner Ponikwar, CEO of thyssenkrupp nucera, a German company that develops hydrogen technologies.

Only through large-scale production with robust, reliable and cost-effective technologies at competitive renewable power prices green hydrogen will become market-ready with widespread use, the company said.

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