VNG and Total Eren Link up on Green Ammonia

25.11.2022 - German gas utility VNG, a combination of multiple providers, is joining up with Total Eren, a Paris-based renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP) soon to be absorbed by TotalEnergies to develop the market for green ammonia imports into Europe.

Underscoring their intention to make a “significant contribution” to the supply of carbon-neutral energy in Germany and Europe, as a first step the future partners have signed a cooperation agreement covering imports of ammonia from Total Eren’s green hydrogen projects worldwide. The product would be sold in the German and European markets, starting in 2028.

As part of its VNG 2030+ strategy, the gas producer and its subsidiaries plan to build a hydrogen and carbon hub in the vicinity of Rostock on the German Baltic Sea coast. This would pave the way for more activity in eastern Germany, where up to now only one terminal for green ammonia imports is envisioned short term, compared with several on western Germany’s North Sea coast.

In addition, the company said its trading arm, VNG Handel & Vertrieb (H&V), is in talks with customers to evaluate future requirements for green ammonia and green hydrogen and to conclude initial purchase agreements.

Total Eren is currently working on several large-scale green hydrogen projects globally, including in South America, Africa and Australia. “With intrinsic low costs of power generation, these projects will aim to deliver clean and reliable energy globally in the form of green H2 or its derivatives,” the French company said.

Large-scale green hydrogen project in Chile

Last year, Total Eren secured land and launched feasibility studies with an eye to building a large-scale green hydrogen project in Chile’s Magallanes region that could start up in 2027. This, the country’s largest, would include up to 10 GW of wind turbines that would power 8 GW of electrolysers and allow for production of 800,000 t/y of hydrogen. The complex would also include a desalination plant.

Total Eren plans to partially transport the hydrogen by ship from Patagonia to Germany in the form of 4.4 million t of green ammonia. The partnership with VNG will enable it to offtake the ammonia on the German coast and make it available to its customers directly or in the form of hydrogen from 2028 onward.

Both companies are involved in the H2Global Foundation along with other industry players interested in developing a functioning hydrogen market in Germany.

The German-French partnership’s plans are the second announcement of major hydrogen projects in Germany within a short time. At a presentation last week, US industrial gases producer Air Products and Oiltanking Deutschland, part of the Mabanaft group, unveiled plans for what they said would be the country’s first green ammonia terminal in the Port of Hamburg, expected to become operational in 2026.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist