The company said it was creating a new business unit, dubbed “Yara Clean Ammonia,” in order “to capture growth opportunities within carbon-free food solutions, shipping fuel and other clean ammonia applications.”
The base component for nitrogen fertiliser, the compound of nitrogen and hydrogen is an efficient vector for energy storage and distribution.
It can be used to extract hydrogen but also directly as a carbon neutral fuel in thermal power plants and industrial furnaces.
Yara is working on a pilot project to produce what it calls clean ammonia at a plant in Porsgrunn, southeastern Norway, that is now fuelled by natural gas.
The company aims to connect the plant to the Norwegian power grid, which relies primarily on hydroelectric power, on condition that it qualifies for public subsidies.
The fertiliser producer made the announcement as it published its financial results for 2020, which held up well despite the impact caused by Covid-19.
In 2020, net profit was $691 million (571 million euros), compared to $599 million a year earlier, despite a 9.3 percent drop in turnover to $11.73 billion.
Excluding special items, gross operating profit (EBITDA) was virtually unchanged at $2.16 billion, as lower gas prices, increased deliveries of high-end products and a stronger dollar offset lower prices and slightly higher costs, the company explained.
Shares in Yara were trading up by around 1.3 percent in morning deals on the Oslo Stock Exchange.