According to the OECD, around 90% of goods transported around the world travel by ship, making lower-emission fuels essential in this sector. ExxonMobil is exploring the production and distribution of green hydrogen and green ammonia as lower-emission marine fuels at our Slagen terminal in Norway, with three other companies.
Grieg Edge, North Ammonia, GreenH and ExxonMobil have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to explore the production and distribution of up to 20,000 metric tons of green hydrogen and distribution of up to 100,000 metric tons of green ammonia per year – transforming the Slagen terminal into a hub for lower-emissions shipping fuel. ExxonMobil is represented by Esso Norge, a member of the ExxonMobil group, in the agreement.
What are green hydrogen and green ammonia?
The International Energy Agency predicts that hydrogen will meet 10% of global energy needs by 2050 and considers it critical to meeting global net-zero emissions objectives. Green hydrogen is produced from water via electrolysis, in a process powered by a renewable energy source. In Norway, nearly all electricity, 98%, is from renewable sources, with hydro power accounting for 92%.
Hydrogen emits no CO2 when burned, making green hydrogen an attractive low-energy carrier. It’s versatile, with strong potential to help reduce emissions across high-emitting sectors such as power, transportation, and heavy industry. Hydrogen is plentiful, the most abundant element in the known universe. However, it is also the lightest element in existence and has a low volumetric energy density, making it complicated and expensive to store and transport.
Green ammonia can be used to transport hydrogen, with the hydrogen being converted into ammonia for easier and more affordable transportation, and later turned back into hydrogen. Green ammonia is more energy dense than hydrogen, allowing a greater amount of energy to be transported in less space and at a lower cost. Green ammonia is made by using renewable power to separate hydrogen from water (electrolysis). When used as a fuel, green ammonia has no carbon and generates zero CO2.
Organizations including the International Renewable Energy Agency have highlighted the potential of green ammonia as a lower-emission marine fuel. ExxonMobil is looking at opportunities to use ammonia to ship and store hydrogen over long distances.
A strong team in a key location
Collaboration is core to ExxonMobil’s commitment to researching and developing lower-emission energy solutions and Slagen terminal conversion manager Øyvind Rudberg highlighted the skills and experience the partners bring to the initiative. “Grieg Edge, GreenH and North Ammonia will provide their expertise in sustainable marine transportation, hydrogen production and hydrogen and ammonia project development,” Øyvind said.
GreenH focuses on creating a green infrastructure for hydrogen, while Grieg Edge identifies and progresses sustainability-focused new business opportunities in the maritime sector. North Ammonia develops and invests in the production of green ammonia for maritime customers.
ExxonMobil’s Slagen facility is located on the Oslo Fjord, through which more than 10,000 ships pass every year, making it a highly suitable location for a distribution hub. “There is high value in producing green hydrogen close to where consumption is, because transporting hydrogen from where it’s produced to where it’s consumed is expensive,” says Morten S. Watle, CEO of GreenH. “Here at Slagen we can cut the transport, because ships will be able to bunker directly from the facility.”
Vidar Lundberg, chief business development officer at Grieg Maritime Group, also emphasized that the Slagen terminal is a suitable location. “Grieg Edge looks to develop maritime locations where we see that the infrastructure facilitates green energy production and distribution,” Vidar says. “We see a unique location at Slagen for that – close to the market and with partners that bring in complementary expertise.”