Achieving Decentralized, Electrified, and Decarbonized Ammonia Production

21 December 2023, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The rapid reduction in the cost of renewable energy has motivated the transition from carbon-intensive chemical manufacturing to renewable, electrified, and decarbonized technologies. Although electrified chemical manufacturing technologies differ greatly, the feasibility of each electrified approach is largely related to the energy efficiency and capital cost of the system. Here, we examine the feasibility of ammonia production systems driven by wind and photovoltaic energy. We identify the optimal regions where wind and photovoltaic electricity production may be able to meet local demand for ammonia-based fertilizers. To account for growing concerns regarding access to water, geospatial optimization takes into account water stress caused by new ammonia facilities, and recommendations ensure that the identified regions do not experience an increase in water stress. Reducing water stress by 99% only increases costs by 1.4%. Furthermore, a movement toward a more decentralized ammonia supply chain driven by wind and photovoltaic electricity can reduce the transportation distance for ammonia by up to 76% while resulting in an increase in production costs by 18% if an energy efficiency of 40% is achieved.


Geospatial Analysis
Haber Bosch Process

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Additional methods and results.


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