Ammonia - core technology for the future

Ammonia - big, bigger, green

Mont-Cenis Colliery, Herne

The construction of ammonia plants and the continuous development of new technologies in this field are firmly embedded in Uhde’s corporate DNA. The first ammonia plant based on Uhde’s proprietary process came on stream as early as 1928 at a former colliery site in Herne, Germany. Even then, the capacity of this plant was 100 metric tons per day (mtpd). And today – almost 100 years later – the company is still synonymous with cutting-edge technology and market-leading know-how in the ammonia industry.

  • 100 mt/day

    1928 - Capacity of our first Ammonia plant

  • 5,000 mt/day

    2021 - Our Capabilities today

100 mt/day

1928 - Capacity of our first Ammonia plant

5,000 mt/day

2021 - Our Capabilities today

SAFCO IV - Saudi Arabia (2006)

In 2005 Uhde revolutionized the production of ammonia. At the time, the capacity of a standard plant was around 2,000 metric tons per day, but demand for ammonia was on the rise. At this juncture, Uhde submitted a technical and economic feasibility study for a 4,000 mtpd plant. This was a breakthrough for the entire industry and set the ball rolling towards ever higher capacities. It was Uhde’s proprietary dual-pressure ammonia process that paved the way to production capacities of more than one million metric tons per year. Several large-scale, single-train ammonia plants have since been built on the basis of this process. The first of these plants was SAFCO IV, built for Saudi Arabian Fertilizer Company in Saudi Arabia in 2006 – the world’s largest plant at the time with a record capacity of 3,300 metric tons per day. In 2014, it was this very plant that was once again the spotlight of attention in the industry. As the plant was not using the full amount of natural gas available, the production volume was to be further increased. And so it was that thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions was awarded its first contract for the turnkey revamp of an uhde® dualpressure ammonia plant. After four million man-hours, the revamp, completed in 2018, increased plant output by 11.2 %. The energy consumption per metric ton of ammonia remained constant, as did the volume of urea produced. With a nameplate capacity of 3,670 metric tons per day, SAFCO IV is still one of the world’s largest plants.

Efficiency and Environment

Even the first plants developed by Uhde featured a remarkably efficient technology: with an internal heat exchanger and integrated two-stage refrigeration unit. Energy efficiency has always been a key part of Uhde’s development agenda. To improve plant efficiency, the company focuses on reducing power consumption, optimizing process heat recovery and reducing emissions. With a wealth of pioneering achievements in the industry, Uhde is always setting new standards. Today, the company can build plants with capacities of up to 5,000 mtpd – and in combination with water electrolysis, these plants can even produce CO2-free “green ammonia”. Green ammonia serves as a liquid energy carrier to transport “green hydrogen” from renewable energies over long distances.


This Is How We Build Them Today