Proud to be Producing Lower Carbon Ammonia

Published: Jul 04, 2019

Lowest carbon-producing ammonia producer in Canada. It’s quite a claim to fame and it’s a distinction that belongs to a Nutrien facility in central Alberta.

Joffre Nitrogen Operations has been building partnerships in which innovation and efficiency are shaping new standards. Since opening in 1987, the site has been a large producer of anhydrous Ammonia with an annual production capacity of 485,000 tonnes. 

In the agriculture business, ammonia is primarily used to provide nitrogen to crops as a nutrient. Ammonia is needed to make plants grow and is vital to help feed the world’s population. Ammonia is also used for a variety of industrial purposes such as refrigerants and explosives used in the mining industry. 

Collaborating with a neighboring industrial facility, Joffre has been able to produce ammonia using byproduct hydrogen, rather than reforming natural gas feedstock to produce hydrogen. The partnership was formed prior to the building and commissioning of the facility. 

By importing hydrogen and nitrogen feedstock, the production process is reduced to three steps, rather than eight, resulting in CO2 emissions that are 15 to 20 percent lower per tonne of ammonia produced. 

“That makes us the lowest carbon emitting ammonia producer in Canada, and we’re proud of that,” says  Mike Gerhardt, Joffre Plant Manager.

This approach also helps the Joffre site to operate with lower costs and with fewer operating and maintenance requirements than a conventional ammonia plant. By purchasing hydrogen rather than producing it, ammonia can be produced with a smaller facility at a competitive cost.