Omani carbon removal and storage start up 44.01 has successfully carried out the world’s first pilot project to produce blue ammonia by capturing and converting carbon released during the ammonia production process into minerals.

Talal Hassan, Founder and ‘Carbon General’ at 44.01 told Zawya Projects that he is “excited” that his company successfully produced the world’s first Blue Ammonia using mineralisation.

“As part of this pilot, we made around 500 kilogrammes of Blue Ammonia. Although this was just a demonstration with small quantities, this is something we can scale up to give industries in Oman an edge over their competitors globally.

“What’s exciting is that Ammonia is just one product we can turn Blue. We can replicate this for any other chemical which emit CO2 and can help multiple industries decarbonise their products with our technology.”

Launched in July 2020, 44.01’s technology uses clean energy to inject CO2 fully dissolved in water into peridotite, an abundantly available rock, accelerating the natural process of CO2 to mineral conversion.

44.01 has estimated from its pilots that it takes up to a year for the CO2 injected to transform into minerals.

Project costs

In response to question posed by Zawya Projects on the production costs, Vivian Wood, a spokesperson for 44.01, said that “the cost to produce blue ammonia is the standard cost of ammonia production with the removal added.”

She declined to quantify the cost of producing blue ammonia or name the partners involved in the project, instead choosing to highlight the benefits of companies reducing their impact on the planet through 44.01’s technology.

In December 2021, Stripe Climate, a part of San Francisco-based Stripe, which builds financial infrastructure for online businesses, made a carbon purchase from 44.01 for a demonstration project to remove to 2,941 tonnes of CO2 by February 2024 at the rate of $170 per tonne of carbon, significantly lower than over $1,000 per tonne 44.01 had achieved for its first test project, according to documents submitted to Stripe Climate.

Stripe Climate allows online businesses to contribute funds to technologies that remove CO2 directly from the atmosphere.0

44.01 was one of the four companies eligible for a total of $6 million in carbon removal purchases made by Stripe Climate to help bring these innovative technologies to market and scale them up.

Speaking about the challenges in scaling up, 44.01’s spokesperson said: “We need to build up the infrastructure associated with mineralisation plants as we scale, [but] the speed at which we do this could be a challenge. With the right support and with organisations committed to doing the right thing we will scale up quickly,”

The pace of commercialising the technology will depend on the emitting organisations, she noted, and added: “we can support them by taking their CO2 and mineralising it if they are keen to decarbonise”.

The company aims to mineralise one Gigaton (one billion tonnes) of CO2 by 2030, the spokesperson said, noting that theoretically, the global mineralisation potential is estimated at 10^5-10^8 GtCO2.

Going overseas

44.01 has the relevant permits in Oman to deploy projects. In its documents submitted to Stripe Climate, the company has said:

“We have all the required permits for our process at our current pilot site in Oman. We will require access and operating permits at any new sites we identify for our process; however, this will be relatively straightforward given we have the same permits for our current site.”

“As we expand to other global locations, we will require local permits. We are already in the process of obtaining permitting in the UAE and are actively engaging with relevant stakeholders in the US (CARB, DOE) to navigate federal and state permitting processes (example, EPA UIC Class VI permit).”

The world’s first shipment of blue ammonia was dispatched by Saudi Aramco from Saudi Arabia to Japan in September 2020 for use in the power station for the production of zero-carbon power. More recently, in May 2021, ADNOC in the UAE announced the development of a world scale blue ammonia production facility at the TA’Aziz Industrial chemicals Zone in Ruwais.

(Reporting by Sowmya Sundar; Editing by Anoop Menon)