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Ammonia Cracking

Converting Ammonia to Hydrogen

Air Liquide’s Ammonia Cracking technology development is a critical step to unlock access to additional low carbon & renewable hydrogen derived from imported ammonia.

A growing market

The ammonia market is already sizeable, as it is used in a range of sectors, most notably in agriculture.  

But the potential value of ammonia is growing.  As a molecule made up of hydrogen and nitrogen, it has great potential as an energy carrier – in which it can be safely transported and converted to create hydrogen, at scale.  

Ammonia can be produced with a low-carbon footprint from hydrogen in geographies with abundant renewable energy sources such as sun, water and wind, or other low-carbon power. 

The existing market for ammonia means that a global supply chain infrastructure is already in place for its production, transportation and use at large scale. This allows regions with abundant renewable energy to export ammonia to end users across the globe, where it can be converted back to hydrogen, through a process of cracking.

Building on our Steam Methane Reforming expertise

We are taking targeted action to develop the role of ammonia as an integral part of the energy transition. We are basing our ammonia cracking technology on our experience of steam methane reforming (SMR), where we have vast experience of construction and operation. In particular, our ‘SMR-X’ technology, which features high thermal efficiency at low steam co-production ratios and emits less CO2, makes the ammonia cracking process highly energy efficient.

Industrial scale pilot plant

We are contributing to the further development of hydrogen as a key enabler through the construction of an industrial scale ammonia cracking pilot plant in the port of Antwerp, Belgium. 

The plant, which is the cornerstone of our ammonia cracking technology development, will use innovative technology to convert ammonia into hydrogen, with an optimized carbon footprint. When fully established, it will be the largest hydrogen producing ammonia cracking operation in the world. It will be operated by Air Liquide – providing valuable operational experience and feedback for ongoing technology development. 

Our ammonia cracking technology complements our existing portfolio of hydrogen technologies and adds another solution to enable the development of a global hydrogen market, contributing to the decarbonization of industry and mobility.