What is ammonia?

At room temperature, ammonia is a colourless, highly irritating gas with a sharp, suffocating odour. Ammonia is easily compressed to form a clear liquid under pressure and is usually stored in steel containers.

It is one of the most produced industrial chemicals in the world, mainly for producing fertilizers. In addition to being useful for agriculture, ammonia can also be used as a refrigerant or for the production of plastics, explosives, textiles, pesticides, dyes and other chemicals.

Today, the vast majority of ammonia is produced in the so-called Haber-Bosch process that uses hydrogen and nitrogen. In the environment, ammonia is part of the nitrogen cycle and is produced in soil from bacterial processes. Ammonia is also produced naturally by the decomposition of organic material, including plants, animals and animal waste.

It is an important end product of the Power-to-X concept and can be produced sustainably using renewable energy, which is used to split water into hydrogen, which is then added with nitrogen, which is separated from the air. Ammonia is also seen as a promising fuel for the shipping industry’s future CO2-free fuel, as ammonia emits neither CO2 nor other unwanted particles such as sulphur.