Yara International ASA has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 37% from 2004 to 2009 — surpassing company targets by 12%. Driving much of this reduction is Yara’s innovative catalyst technology, which decreases nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from its nitric acid plants by up to 90%.
Jørgen Ole Haslestad, president and CEO of Yara International, commented: “It is a well known fact that fertilizer production requires processes that emit significant amounts of greenhouse gases. Ever since its inception, Yara has stated a desire to shape the industry with best practices to reduce greenhouse gases. Our initial goal was to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2004 to 2009. While we are very pleased to have surpassed this goal, we still have work to do. In order to claim our place among the most efficient companies in the industry, we are now aiming to reduce our emissions by another 8% by the year 2013. This will bring our total emissions reductions to 45% over 10 years.”
In 2004, Yara’s total greenhouse gas emissions amounted to the equivalent of 19.7 million tons of CO2. By the end of 2009, greenhouse gas emissions totaled the equivalent of 12.5 million tons of CO2 — a 37% reduction over five years when adjusted for new plants and market-related capacity reductions in 2009.
Yara’s innovative abatement technology reduces N2O emissions by up to 90%
The company expects its N2O abatement catalyst pellets, which have already provided the majority of its emissions reductions, to continue to be the major contributor to future reductions. Since the early 1990s, Yara has invested more than NOK 200 million in its catalyst technology, which breaks down N2O in the first stage of nitric acid plant production when ammonia is burned. By splitting the gas into nitrogen and oxygen, the catalyst pellets can reduce N2O emissions by up to 90%.
Yara also sells its N2O abatement technology to other companies. In fact, the company estimates that if all nitric acid plants worldwide used this technology, it would help reduce CO2 emissions by up to 100 million tons annually.