Australia’s longstanding urea producer, Incitec Pivot (ASX:IPL) has completed initial studies looking into the possibility of converting IPL’s Gibson Island ammonia production facility to run on zero carbon green hydrogen instead of fossil fuel gas.

IPL announced in November its plan to cease manufacturing of urea at the site, however it stated at the time that the study into industrial scale production of green ammonia would continue.

Partnering with Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), the green arm of Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG), the two companies will now enter negotiations for an agreement to advance the project to the next stage, a Front-End Engineering Design study.

This will then refine cost, schedule, permitting and commercial agreements, and inform a potential Final Investment Decision.

FFI CEO said pending further approvals, this project could be Australia’s first green ammonia production facility if it demonstrates existing infrastructure can be retrofitted to utilise zero emissions energy sources.

Plans are in motion to construct an on-site electrolysis plant, which would produce up to 50,000 tonnes of renewable, green hydrogen per year for conversion into green ammonia which would replace the current fossil fuel gas feedstock.

IPL managing director and CEO Jeanne Johns said: “Working with FFI, we have found it is technically feasible to manufacture green ammonia at an industrial scale at Gibson Island.

“As an existing brownfield site, this offers many advantages.”


New Zealand oil refinery partners with FFI

In a separate announcement this morning, FFI said it has agreed to investigate repurposing facilities at the RNZ Marsden Pilot oil refinery owned by Refining NZ for the production of green hydrogen.

The two entities have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to study the commercial and technical feasibility of producing, storing, distributing, and exporting industrial scale green hydrogen from the decommissioned site as it transitions into an import-only fuel terminal.

RNZ is based in Marsden Point (two hours north of Auckland) and is the country’s only oil refinery and leading supplier of refined petroleum products to the New Zealand market, including petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and other products.

In November 2021, the board of RNZ made a final decision to convert the facility into an import only facility, which meant around 65pc of their existing site would be available for future growth opportunities once the transition had taken place, in April 2022.

Existing infrastructure such as a deep-water port, proximity to large electricity grid connections and an industrial water supply is on site and will be investigated.