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Clariant and Casale develop new ammonia catalyst for sustainable carbon dioxide reduction

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Fertilizer,

Clariant and Casale have jointly developed the AmoMax™-Casale, a new ammonia synthesis catalyst which aims to make ammonia production more efficient and less polluting.

Producing ammonia (NH3) creates more carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than any other chemical synthesis process. This is the reasoning behind Clariant’s work to enhance its ammonia synthesis catalysts. For example, their AmoMax 10 changed ammonia synthesis in the industry from magnetite-based to wustite-based catalysts. The AmoMax™-Casale is the next generation AmoMax.

Born of Clariant’s catalyst expertise and Casale’s ammonia converter design know-how, AmoMax-Casale delivers an up to 30% higher efficiency factor, also thanks to a larger active surface area than previous generations of AmoMax. This significantly lowers the energy consumption of an ammonia plant, leading to a reduction in CO2 emissions.

Two ways AmoMax-Casale cuts CO2 emissions

  1. The catalyst’s higher activity allows operation of the ammonia synthesis loop with considerably less pressure. This means the plant consumes less energy to produce ammonia, and hence generates less CO2 emissions.
  2. Higher catalyst activity means higher conversion, so the plant will consume less energy for the recirculation of the process gas in the reactor loop. Again, less CO2 is emitted.

More rewarding, less polluting

The combination of a higher active catalyst with the Casale design of converter internals makes the difference. This means, a typical ammonia plant producing 1600 tpd, would potentially save US$ 300 000 annually on energy costs, and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 85 000 t over the catalyst’s average lifetime of 15 years. Furthermore, AmoMax-Casale is capable of increasing the ammonia production capacity by up to 5%.

The benefits of AmoMax-Casale are not just theoretical. The catalyst has already proven its great performance in its first industrial reference at an ammonia plant in the Americas. The plant was upgraded to a Casale 3-bed interchanger using the AmoMax-Casale catalyst in late 2019 and is already reporting energy savings of 50 000 kcal/MT, which translates to an expected annual reduction of US$700 000 in costs, and 6.148 t in CO2 emissions.

Marvin Estenfelder, Head of Research and Development at Clariant Catalysts, said: “Currently, more than 70% of ammonia produced is used by fertilizer manufactures. In the future, energy markets will become increasingly important, as AmoMax-Casale can enable future blue and green ammonia production.”

Ermanno Filippi, Casale’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “AmoMax-Casale is an important step towards decreasing the energy demand and CO2 emissions of ammonia production. These are preconditions for blue and green ammonia which will play an important role in energy and hydrogen storage in the future, and enable zero-carbon power generation.”

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Fertilizer project news Ammonia news