Blue Ammonia Market: Current Insights and Future Outlook

Ammonia is produced by transforming gaseous nitrogen and hydrogen at optimal temperatures and pressures with the aid of a catalyst. It can be generated from hydrocarbon feedstock and fuel or from renewable sources. Presently, nearly all ammonia is derived from hydrocarbon feedstock and fuel. Blue ammonia, on the other hand, is produced from hydrocarbons, but the CO2 released during its production is captured and stored using carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology.

According to Inkwood Research, the global blue ammonia market is expected to record a CAGR of 52.22% during 2025-2030, 38.25% during 2030-2035, 25.20% during 2035-2040, 16.68% during 2040-2045, and 7.89% during 2045-2050. While it is projected to reach a revenue of $74413.57 million by 2050. Blue ammonia is appealing due to its ability to rapidly scale up using existing technologies and its lower production costs compared to other low-emission fuels.

Blue Ammonia Market - Inkwood Research

This blog lays down the contemporary insights and future outlook of blue ammonia.

Blue Ammonia Market: The Status Quo

According to the Ammonia Energy Association, current ammonia production levels are approaching 200 million tonnes per year, with around 10% traded on the global market. Nearly 98% of the feedstock for global ammonia production comes from fossil fuels, with 72% using natural gas as the feedstock. Ammonia is classified as ‘blue’ when produced from natural gas feedstock and the emitted CO2 is captured using CCS/CCUS technologies, and ‘green’ when it is derived from hydrogen produced by electrolysis using renewable resources.

Recently, the growth in gas production and LNG inflow has enabled gas producers and industries to expand blue ammonia production. Consequently, the increase in ammonia production and its declining carbon intensity align with global targets for transitioning away from carbon-based fuels.

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Currently, ammonia benefits from an extensive existing user base as it is fundamental to fertilizer production. Additionally, well-developed infrastructure and large-scale ammonia production facilities around the world enhance its production feasibility. Recent advances in turbine engine technologies have also increased ammonia use, either directly for combustion or indirectly, by reforming it back into nitrogen and hydrogen as industrial feedstock. 

Compared to hydrogen, ammonia does not require extreme cooling and has a higher energy density than liquid hydrogen, making it more efficient to transport and store. In contrast, hydrogen faces challenges such as high storage system costs, purity requirements, and transportation issues. These advantages indicate that ammonia could become a competitive option for decarbonizing energy-intensive industries, particularly in the power generation and transport sectors. (Source)

Future Pathways of Blue Ammonia Market

Ammonia faces several challenges, such as its toxicity and corrosiveness, the production of nitrogen oxides (NOx), flammability, and combustion issues in traditional engines and turbines, including high ignition temperature and low flame velocity. Additionally, producing green ammonia on a commercial scale is currently expensive due to the high capital costs of the electrolyzer plant for hydrogen production.

In this context, blue ammonia has emerged as an alternative fuel to support the shipping industry’s decarbonization efforts. Since January 2020, the shipping industry has been required to limit the sulfur content in marine fuels. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2030 and up to 70% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels, with the ultimate goal of eliminating all harmful emissions.

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To meet the IMO’s emission reduction goals, there is a growing demand for alternative fuels. Although LNG is currently seen as one of the best options to achieve these targets, blue ammonia is also recognized as a key solution for the shipping industry’s long-term decarbonization objectives.

In conclusion, the blue ammonia market has the potential to play a significant role in transforming the global energy system as a low-CO2 energy source to meet the world’s increasing energy demand. The power sector, which is expected to undergo a major structural shift in the transition to a greener energy industry, could greatly benefit from using ammonia—whether blue or green—to meet its emissions targets.

By Akhil Nair

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    FAQ

    The primary environmental benefit of blue ammonia is the significant reduction in CO₂ emissions compared to conventional ammonia production. By capturing and storing or utilizing the CO₂ generated during hydrogen production, blue ammonia helps mitigate the greenhouse gas impact associated with traditional ammonia synthesis. This contributes to the overall reduction of industrial carbon footprints and supports global climate goals

    Blue ammonia production leverages advanced carbon capture and storage/utilization technologies to mitigate CO₂ emissions, which enhances overall environmental efficiency. While the energy efficiency in terms of hydrogen production may be similar to conventional methods, the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions offers a substantial environmental benefit, making it a more sustainable option