Yara International ASA and BASF opened a new world-scale ammonia plant in Freeport, USA. The $ 600-million facility uses production process, based on by-product hydrogen instead of natural gas.
Oslo/Norway and Florham Park/USA — Yara Freeport LLC is owned 68 % by Yara and 32 % by BASF. The plant, located at BASF's site in Freeport, has a capacity of 750,000 metric tons of ammonia per year. Each party will off-take ammonia according to their ownership share.
BASF will use its share of ammonia off-take to produce polyamide 6, which is commonly used in the production of carpet fibers, packaging and casings for the wire and cable markets. Polyamide 6 for injection molding is used in high-performance engineering plastics for automotive applications. Yara will market its share of ammonia to industrial customers and the agricultural sector in North America. To support the new plant, the company built an ammonia storage facility at Port Freeport. BASF upgraded its existing terminal and pipeline assets.
Conventional ammonia plants use natural gas to produce the hydrogen needed during ammonia production. Yara Freeport's hydrogen-based technology allows the plant to forego this initial production step, leading to lower capital expenditure and maintenance costs, the companies claim.
A long-term supply agreement for hydrogen and nitrogen with industrial gases company Praxair links feedstock cost to the advantageous natural gas prices on the US Gulf coast.