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Linde Engineering to deliver ASU for Australia’s largest fertiliser plant

The engineering arm of industrial gas major Linde will supply an air separation unit (ASU) for a US$2.9bn urea plant in Australia, which will be the largest of its kind in the country once operational.

The plant will convert natural gas from Woodside’s Scarborough Gas Project into an estimated 2.3 million tonnes of urea per annum.

According to operator Perdaman Industries, the single-train ASU will have a capacity of 63,000 normal cubic metres (Nm3) of gaseous oxygen.

The Australian government has previously stated that it plans to export about half the output of the plant to the APAC region, Brazil and the US, while the rest will help cut Australia’s reliance on fertiliser imports.

According to the UN COMTRADE database on international trade, Australia’s imports of fertiliser were valued at $2.67bn during 2023.

The country’s dependence on fertiliser imports was highlighted in a report from Australian grain farmer representative GrainGrowers.

The report revealed that this over-reliance was due to a high manufacturing cost structure, particularly for those using natural gas to produce ammonia and urea.

GrainGrowers proposed government funding for initiatives to bring forward timelines to take advantage of new technologies.

In 2022 Perdaman secured a $143m low-cost loan from the government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility, which adds to $168m in two previous loans backing infrastructure to service the urea project.

Under the deal, Linde will also supply a nitrogen wash unit equipped with a 392,000 Nm3 syngas production capacity to supply the downstream ammonia plant.

Robert Eichelmann, Senior Vice President Linde Engineering APAC, said that the new agreement builds on a business relationship with Perdaman stretching back more than a decade.

“The project demonstrates Linde’s capabilities in APAC and supports Australia’s growing clean energy market by providing ammonia as a low-carbon feedstock for urea production,” he added.

Having committed to making the planet Net Zero by 2050, Perdaman has designed the plant to minimise both industrial emissions and the carbon footprint of fertiliser production.

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