La. Ammonia Producer Announces Clean Energy Initiative

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards and CF Industries CEO Tony Will have announced a new clean fuels climate-focused initiative for the company’s Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex.

CF Industries plans investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its network to enable the manufacture of carbon-free and low-carbon ammonia that will be used as a clean energy source. The Louisiana complex in Ascension Parish is central to company plans for stimulating hydrogen-based, clean-fuel consumption in the global economy.

“The CF Industries strategy is an example of innovation in action,” Gov. Edwards said. “Already the world’s largest nitrogen-based manufacturing site for the agricultural economy, the Donaldsonville complex will become a significant global player in reducing greenhouse gases, curbing the carbon impact on our environment, and producing carbon-free fuels. These are the kind of forward-thinking investments that position Louisiana as a next-generation energy leader.”

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Earlier this year, Gov. Edwards formed a Climate Initiatives Task Force to recommend methods for reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to worsening weather, coastal and atmospheric conditions. CF Industries is committing to a 25 percent reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2030 and the attainment of net-zero emissions by 2050. Those goals align with the Louisiana task force goals.

“CF Industries is pleased to continue our long history of growing the capabilities of the Donaldsonville Nitrogen Complex, and putting it at the forefront of our efforts to support a clean energy economy,” Will said. “Donaldsonville’s location, scale and flexibility will make it a critical part of clean hydrogen supply through the production of green and low-carbon ammonia. We look forward to working with Governor Edwards, as well as Ascension Parish and local leaders, as these initiatives progress.”

Ammonia consists of three parts hydrogen and one part nitrogen, and is an effective medium for storing and transporting hydrogen and for use as a fuel in its own right. Within the next half-century, hydrogen-based fuels could cover one-third of all global energy needs (nearly on par with electricity), according to an International Energy Agency report released in September 2020.

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Recently, the CF Industries board of directors authorized construction of a new green ammonia project at the company’s 1,400-acre site on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Ascension Parish. The company also committed to dramatic reductions in carbon emissions across its global network, and intends to implement projects to capture and sequester carbon dioxide associated with the Louisiana site.

“In order to meet our goal of reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) in the environment, we have to find not only carbon-neutral fuels but also ways to capture legacy carbon, particularly from emissions-intensive industries,” said Secretary Chuck Carr Brown of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. “That legacy carbon, in the form of GHGs, has to be safely stored through sequestration to slow climate change. This new project by CF industries takes aim at both those goals. This is good news for Governor Edwards’ Climate Initiatives Task Force. More such projects will need to be developed, but CF’s ambitious plan is an example for others to follow.”

Most ammonia, which is produced in a natural gas-based manufacturing process in most of the United States, is upgraded to other fertilizers or used as a fertilizer itself as part of the global food supply chain. By capturing and storing carbon emissions from that process, CF Industries estimates it could produce 3.5 million tons of low-carbon ammonia (one-third of total annual production) across its facilities without affecting the company’s current product mix.

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“This is exactly the kind of project we hoped to see companies invest in as the State of Louisiana has sought ways to move forward with more intensive carbon management strategies,” said Department of Natural Resources Secretary Tom Harris. “Our Office of Conservation has been working for some time to gain approval from the federal government to oversee carbon sequestration projects of the kind this proposed operation would seek partnership with. It’s another great opportunity for Louisiana to demonstrate leadership in the ongoing effort to appropriately balance economic and energy needs with the requirements of a sustainable environment.”

In addition to producing low-carbon ammonia, CF Industries will build a state-of-the-art facility in Donaldsonville to produce carbon-free or “green” ammonia. The company will install an electrolysis unit that will separate hydrogen from water, and then supply that carbon-free hydrogen to an existing ammonia plant to produce green ammonia. Engineering and design work is underway, with company officials estimating a $100 million capital investment and the ability to scale electrolysis capacity with demand.

“CF Industries represents a key connection between Louisiana’s world-scale chemical processing industry and our state’s longstanding support of agribusiness,” said Secretary Don Pierson of Louisiana Economic Development. “We’ve witnessed the value this company brings to our state economy and workforce, and this latest commitment adds crucial vision to that value. LED looks forward to supporting the additional jobs and investment this initiative will deliver, and the environmental gains that will demonstrate our leadership in clean energy.”

In 2016, CF Industries completed a $2.1 billion expansion in Donaldsonville described by local officials as the largest single capital investment in Ascension Parish history. With that investment and a project announced in September 2020 to enhance nitric acid production, CF Industries has grown its direct employment more than 40 percent to nearly 500 jobs, and the Donaldsonville complex supports a similar number of on-site contract employees.

About CF Industries
CF Industries is a leading global manufacturer and distributor of hydrogen and nitrogen products for clean energy, emissions abatement, fertilizer and other industrial applications. Its manufacturing complexes in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. are among the most cost-advantaged, efficient and flexible in the world, with an unparalleled storage, transportation and distribution network in North America. The company’s 3,000 employees focus on safe and reliable operations, environmental stewardship and disciplined capital and corporate management, leveraging and sustainably growing the world’s most advantaged hydrogen and nitrogen platform, serving customers, and creating long-term shareholder value. For more details, visit CFIndustries.com.

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