Bantry Bay facility could reduce Irish carbon emissions by 2.4m tonnes per year

6 Jul 2021

From left: Tadhg Deasy and Ellen Ruhotas from Zenith Energy, and Tom Lynch and Pearse Flynn from EI-H2. Image: Michael O’Sullivan/OSM PHOTO

The green facility, to operate alongside Zenith Energy’s terminal in Bantry Bay, will be one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Zenith Energy and EI-H2 have announced plans to develop a 3.2 gigawatt energy facility at Bantry Bay to produce green hydrogen and green ammonia.

The two companies are undertaking a year-long feasibility study before they apply for planning permission. The facility is set to be operational by 2028.

When operational, it will have the potential to reduce Irish carbon emissions by 2.4m tonnes per year, which is equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of a quarter of all Irish homes.

Bantry Bay, where Zenith Energy already operates a storage terminal, was chosen as the location because of its proximity to some of the most productive offshore locations for wind-generated electricity, according to the company.

The project’s first phase involves the creation of a green hydrogen production facility with a capacity of up to 2.7 gigawatts. Using green hydrogen from this phase, the developers plan to construct a second green ammonia facility with a capacity of 500 megawatts.

“The green energy produced by the facility will be used both domestically and internationally, providing carbon-free alternatives to help reduce the country’s carbon footprint and to put Ireland on the green energy export map,” the companies said in a joint announcement.

Zenith Energy, headquartered in Houston, Texas, is an international oil and gas company with production assets in Italy and parts of Africa. Its Europe operations include two major storage terminals in Amsterdam and Bantry Bay.

Ellen Ruhotas, managing director of Zenith Energy, said that the joint venture’s “green hydrogen and green ammonia production plans align with government and EU policy for meeting the region’s 2050 climate action goals”.

A Climate Action Bill approved by the Government in March committed Ireland to cutting its emissions by 51pc between 2018 and 2030 and to net-zero no later than 2050, in line with EU policy.

Pearse Flynn, founder of Cork-based hydrogen and ammonia developer EI-H2, said: “With a renewable source of offshore wind and water, we can produce real fuel alternatives to help industry and commercial customers reduce their carbon footprint.”

According to Flynn: “Ireland is on the cusp of a genuine green revolution. Instead of waiting for someone else to decarbonise our country, we are looking to develop domestic ways of making a real difference.”

He added: “Ireland needs to think big to realise its green potential, and this project is of the scale required to develop this new industry.”

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic