Bord Gáis Energy and Mitsubishi Power are mulling plans to build Europe’s first ammonia-fuelled electricity generator at the Irish company’s site in Whitegate, Co Cork.
The Irish company’s owner, London-listed Centrica, said on Wednesday that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mitsubishi Power Europe to explore the construction and operation of the ammonia-fired plant.
The facility would be Europe’s first and one of just two in the world to use the low-carbon fuel to generate electricity, should it go ahead, according to a statement.
Bord Gáis and Centrica Energy will work with Mitsubishi Power on the project, which has been earmarked for Whitegate, where the Irish energy supplier already has a gas-fired electricity plant.
The trio are establishing a project team to begin assessing the plan’s feasibility. If that has a successful outcome, they will begin extensive talks with local groups.
Their statement describes low-carbon ammonia as a clean and sustainable fuel that generates electricity while cutting greenhouse gas emissions and bolstering security of supply.
Whitegate would serve as a “global demonstration site for ammonia-fired power generation technology”, it adds. Centrica Energy’s trading network would source the fuel.
Dave Kirwan, managing director, Bord Gáis Energy, dubbed the memorandum a “significant step” in advancing the groups’ commitment to switching to low-emissions energy.
He predicted that Centrica’s capability, Mitsubishi Power’s technology and Bord Gáis Energy’s assets would drive the project’s success.
Chris O’Shea, Centrica’s group chief executive, said the company believed that “all energy can be green energy”.
Javier Cavada, Mitsubishi Power’s president and chief executive, Europe, Middle East and Africa, pointed out that the multinational was the front-runner in developing technology using the direct firing of ammonia for power generation.
Mitsubishi Power is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, part of the well-known Japanese multinational.
Centrica also owns British Gas and supplies energy and services to 10 million homes and businesses across Ireland and Britain.