Ammonia Technology Roadmap

Towards more sustainable nitrogen fertiliser production

Ammonia roadmap

About this report

Ammonia is the starting point for all mineral nitrogen fertilisers, forming a bridge between the nitrogen in the air and the food we eat. Around 70% of ammonia is used to make fertilisers, with the remainder used for a wide range of industrial applications, such as plastics, explosives and synthetic fibres. Ammonia may also serve as a low-carbon energy vector in the future, but that application is not considered within the core analytical scope of this technology roadmap. Ammonia production accounts for around 2% of total final energy consumption and 1.3% of CO2 emissions from the energy system. An increasingly numerous and affluent global population will lead to growth in ammonia production, during a period in which governments around the world have declared that emissions from the energy system must head towards net zero.

This technology roadmap uses scenario analysis to explore three possible futures for ammonia production. In the Stated Policies Scenario the industry follows current trends, making incremental improvements but falling well short of a sustainable trajectory. In the Sustainable Development Scenario the sector adopts the technologies and policies required to put it on a pathway aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario describes a trajectory for the ammonia industry that is compatible with reaching net zero emissions globally for the energy system by 2050. The roadmap concludes with a chapter outlining the necessary roles and actions of key stakeholders, namely governments, producers, and financial and research institutions, and establishes milestones and decision points.