Fertiliser manufacturer CF Fertilisers is to invest over £1 million in a study on the capture and storage of carbon dioxide from the production process at its Ince facility in Cheshire, one of its two UK plants.

CF logo

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) – supported by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – has awarded £510,000 in government support related to HyNet North West, an important carbon capture and storage (CCS) initiative.

CF Fertilisers is a vital “anchor” project in HyNet North West, which aims to reduce carbon emissions from industry, domestic heat and transport through the creation of the UK’s first CCS infrastructure. CF will match fund the government grant, contributing £510,000 of its own money into the project. It says the funding will help the company to move forward with its front-end engineering study to capture and store carbon dioxide from its manufacturing process.

Carbon dioxide made as a by-product of the conventional ammonia production process would be transported and stored safely offshore in the Liverpool Bay gas fields. This could capture 330,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the Ince process – equivalent to the emissions from 132,000 vehicles.

The HyNet initiative could be a major contributor to the government’s 2050 Net Zero carbon target, as well as creating a new low carbon economy and skills base in the North West region.

CF Fertilisers’ US parent company CF Industries has committed to decarbonising its global ammonia production network and to aggressively scale up the production of ‘blue’ ammonia – ammonia with CO2 removed through CCS. The domestic operation says that nitrogen fertiliser products based on blue ammonia would support the decarbonisation of the UK agriculture industry. In addition, the blue ammonia has potential as a clean energy source and as a fuel in its own right.

“The transformation of CF Fertilisers into a clean energy business has taken a significant step forward,” says David Hopkins, managing director of CF Fertilisers. “This carbon capture and storage project will provide us with an opportunity to drive clean energy growth in the UK. As the UK’s primary producer of ammonia, it will enable us to decarbonise our fertilisers and give us entry into new markets for our products associated with the hydrogen economy.”

Riaan de Beer, site manager of the CF Fertilisers Ince facility, adds: “In the UK, CF Fertilisers has already reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% since 2010. Carbon capture and storage is the next natural step on our decarbonisation journey.”