Germany eyes Saudi imports at hydrogen terminal from 2026

Green ammonia shipments planned for new plant in Hamburg

German Economy Minister Robert Habeck oversaw a symbolic first ammonia delivery from the UAE in Hamburg last month. Reuters
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Germany has said it hopes to import green ammonia from Saudi Arabia at a terminal to be opened in 2026.

Ammonia can be used to make hydrogen, regarded by Germany and many others as a clean fuel of the future.

A first German import terminal devoted to hydrogen and related products is to be built in Hamburg by US company Air Products and Germany's Mabanaft, they announced on Thursday.

Air Products signed a $5 billion deal in 2020 with Saudi Arabia's Acwa Power and Neom to produce ammonia for export.

The German terminal "is planned to go into operation in 2026 and be available to import green ammonia from Saudi Arabia", Germany's Economy Ministry said.

Hamburg received a first test shipment of ammonia from the UAE at a ceremony last month.

It is also hoped that liquefied natural gas terminals being built on the German coast will one day be converted to receive hydrogen.

The National this week visited the new LNG terminal in Wilhelmshaven, built in six months to ease reliance on Russian imports.

"Hydrogen and its derivatives like ammonia are key elements of a climate-neutral economy fit for the future," Economy Minister Robert Habeck said.

"In this way we can decarbonise our industry and power stations and continue to diversify our energy imports."

Germany hopes green ammonia and hydrogen could help decarbonise its manufacturing sector. AFP

Hamburg mayor Peter Tschentscher said the northern port city aimed to become a "leading hydrogen location in Europe".

"It is already clear today that the demand for hydrogen in Germany far exceeds the domestic production capacities," he said.

Ammonia, made from hydrogen and nitrogen, is regarded as cheaper and easier to transport than pure hydrogen.

It is known as green ammonia when it is produced using clean energy.

The European Union is looking to the Gulf as part of its plans to import 10 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030, alongside another 10 million tonnes of domestic production.

However, politicians have called for more co-ordination between EU countries in place of the current patchwork of agreements with Gulf nations.

Updated: November 18, 2022, 12:47 PM
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