Orica has announced plans to install an Australia industry first tertiary catalyst abatement technology, EnviNOx®, at its Kooragang Island manufacturing plant in New South Wales.
The technology, provided by thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions, is designed to deliver up to 95% abatement efficiency, reducing the site’s total greenhouse gas emissions by almost 50%, Orica said.
The A$37 million ($27 million) spent on the Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project, which will help accelerate Orica’s progress towards achieving its 2030 emissions reduction target, will see proven nitrous oxide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions tertiary abatement technology installed at its Kooragang Island plant from 2022, with commissioning in 2023, Orica said.
To facilitate the project, the New South Wales Government’s Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program will co-invest A$13.06 million, together with Orica’s A$24 million, financed by a five-year debt facility provided by the Federal Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The Clean Energy Regulator has also approved the project as eligible to generate Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs).
Viewed as a long-term aid for emissions reduction in high-pressure nitric acid manufacturing plants, the tertiary catalyst abatement technology uses catalytic decomposition to destroy nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide, generated as a by-product of nitric acid production, is the primary source of GHG emissions at the Kooragang Island facility.
The technology will be installed across all three nitric acid manufacturing plants used in the production of ammonium nitrate at Kooragang Island. It is designed to eliminate at least 567,000 t/y of CO2e from the site’s operations, with expectations of reducing the site’s total emissions by 48%, while delivering a cumulative emissions reduction of at least 4.7 Mt of CO2e by 2030 based on forecast production.
Orica Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjeev Gandhi, said: “The Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project is a powerful example of a public-private partnership towards decarbonisation and marks a critical step in achieving our medium-term 2030 emissions reduction targets and progress towards our net zero ambition. We’re committed to working with our stakeholders to forge a pathway towards a lower carbon future together.
“Thanks to the support of the New South Wales and Federal Governments we have been able to co-invest and move forward on implementing a significant decarbonisation project.”
New South Wales Treasurer, and Minister for Energy and Environment, Matt Kean, said: “This is a great example of what can be achieved by hard-to-abate industries transitioning towards net zero emissions, under our A$750 million Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program announced earlier this year.”
Gandhi added: “The project ensures our domestic manufacturing operations remain competitive in a low carbon economy, bringing with it significant environment and regional economic and social benefits. There are also benefits for our customers, by reducing the emissions intensity of our ammonium nitrate we are in a position to offer competitive and lower carbon-intensity ammonium nitrate products, helping them to achieve their sustainability goals.
“It also allows us to look at longer-term investments in technologies, including production of hydrogen from renewable energy.”
The Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project was approved in March 2021 by the Clean Energy Regulator to participate in Australia’s carbon market. Orica is eligible to generate ACCUs and was awarded the first optional Carbon Abatement Contract under the Facility Method for the purchase of around 3.4 million ACCUs by the Australian Government. This approach has enabled investment confidence by managing ACCU price risk, it said.
The findings from the Kooragang Island Decarbonisation Project will serve as an important Australian industry case study, demonstrating the potential for tertiary catalyst abatement technology to be deployed more widely across the sector, Orica said.
Orica has also recently partnered with the Alberta Government in Canada to commission a similar tertiary catalyst abatement technology at its Carseland ammonium nitrate manufacturing, reducing emissions by approximately 83,000 t/y of CO2e. It has also assigned approximately A$45 million over the next five years in capital to deploy similar tertiary abatement technology across its Australian ammonium nitrate sites, including its Kooragang Island site.