Enabling low-carbon ammonia: our landmark agreement with CF Industries

Want to see how ExxonMobil is working with other companies to accelerate society’s path to net zero? Look no further than our carbon capture and storage agreement in Louisiana with CF Industries, the world’s largest producer of ammonia. 

Article Sept. 11, 2023

The importance of ammonia 

While ammonia is often associated with household cleaning products, it actually has a higher calling: ammonia is the key ingredient in nitrogen fertilizer, used in about half of the world's food production. 

Simply put, we need ammonia to help feed the world. 

Ammonia may also have another “higher calling”: because it emits no CO2 emissions at its point of use, it’s emerging as a low-carbon energy carrier for key sectors such as marine transportation. 

The role of CCS

So how do we continue to reap the benefits of ammonia while also reducing the emissions associated with its production? It’s not easy. As with most essential materials – steel, cement, fuel – ammonia production requires a lot of heat and energy, and it isn’t well-suited to renewable energies like wind and solar.

One answer is carbon capture and storage (CCS) – a proven technology in which CO2 is captured and stored deep underground instead of being released into the atmosphere. The International Energy Agency and other experts see CCS as essential to meeting society’s goal of net zero emissions.

ExxonMobil has 30-plus years of carbon capture experience. Today, our Low Carbon Solutions business is scaling up our ability to capture, transport and store CO2 for our customers – including CF Industries – to help them reduce emissions. 

Our agreement with CF 

In Louisiana, we have entered an agreement to store up to 2 million metric tons per year of CO2 captured from CF Industries’ ammonia plant in Donaldsonville, starting in 2025. The emissions savings are equivalent to replacing 700,000 gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles (EVs). That’s more than all the EVs sold in the United States last year.

Accelerating the path to net zero 

With nearly 80% of the world’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions coming from sectors like heavy industry (including ammonia production), commercial transportation and power generation, tackling the climate challenge will require big solutions like the ones ExxonMobil is scaling up – including CCS, hydrogen and advanced biofuels. 

As Dan Ammann, president of ExxonMobil’s Low Carbon Solutions business, noted in a recent presentation to investors, our CCS agreement with CF is an example of how we’re “helping to accelerate the world's path to net zero by making that path economically viable and making it executable at a scale that matters.”

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