Today, 18 August 2021, today our Company submitted to the Environmental Impact Assessment System, the Environmental Impact Statement for the project “HyEx – Ammonia Synthesis”. This project will be the first green ammonia production plant in Chile with an annual production of 18,000 tons per year, created from green hydrogen and renewable energy. In addition, it will serve as a pioneer in the implementation and study of new technologies and efficiencies in the production of ammonia. The ammonia produced will be for the exclusive use of the Enaex plant in Mejillones, Chile, to produce ammonium nitrate, a fundamental element to supply the requirements in the blasting processes for the mining industry.
The plant is part of the HyEx project developed jointly with Engie, whose objective is to use the region’s high renewable energy potential to produce a carbon-neutral fuel that will make it possible, at a competitive cost, to replace fossil fuels in the future and thus contribute to the decarbonization of the atmosphere.
“Our company’s first value is the protection of life and, as part of that commitment, we are concerned about mitigating the impacts on climate change. Therefore, we are constantly working on reducing CO2 emissions and, to date, we have reduced more than 90% of emissions in our production process. Going further along this path, we are now focused on reducing indirect emissions of ammonia which is our main raw material. We currently import this input for the production of ammonium nitrate at the Prillex plant (350 ktpa) in Mejillones and our objective in the future is to be able to fully replace it with an innovative, local and green production of ammonia”, explains Juan Andrés Errázuriz, CEO of Enaex.
Among the main benefits of this project are the significant development that an emerging and innovative industry can have in our country; the development of advanced human capital and the generation of local employment; and the end of the production of ammonia based on fossil fuels, which today must be imported for the same production process.
The plant will be located in the area where the Tamaya power plant is located, approximately 24 kilometers from the city of Tocopilla in the Antofagasta Region of Chile. The facilities will include the construction of an air separation plant and an ammonia manufacturing plant. The hydrogen required for the production of green ammonia will be supplied by a future adjacent green hydrogen plant, owned by Engie, whose project, that includes 26 MW of electrolyzers, was also submitted for environmental assessment today.
“The most important thing for us is to be able to contribute to the development of green and carbon-neutral mining, as well as to the reduction of emissions globally”.
“This project alone will mean a reduction of 30,000 tons of CO2 equivalent per year. The national and international mining sector faces very important environmental challenges that we, as suppliers, must face together with them. These efforts play a fundamental role in the sustainability of the industry”, emphasizes Errázuriz.
It is important to highlight that Chile is one of the countries with the greatest potential in the production of Green Ammonia, thanks to the access to the best solar resources in the world, a huge potential demand, consolidated infrastructures such as interconnected electricity grid and gas pipelines, and the support of the State that has promoted the decarbonization of the electricity matrix by 2050.
“Ammonia is one of the most important hydrogen derivatives,” says Enaex’s CEO, who sees favorable prospects for its development in Chile. “We expect that in the first years of the green hydrogen industry, ammonia will be a very important player because it is easier and cheaper to transport and store, in addition to already having a local regulation and global logistics network,” concludes Errazuriz.