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ISL Discusses the Impact of CF FERTILISERS UK Plant Closure

6th September 2023

International Synergies Limited (ISL) are disappointed to hear of the potentially permanent closure of CF FERTILISERS UK (formerly Terra Nitrogen) ammonia plant at its Billingham complex, the largest in the UK. Ammonia production is a source of valuable CO2 as a by-product with application in sectors including food and beverage production and metal fabrication.

The use of CO2 from the Billingham plant for growing tomatoes was a great success story of ISL’s National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP®). In 2006, NISP® worked with Terra Nitrogen to identify alternative uses for the company’s by-products. A fruitful collaboration was established with market grower John Baarda Ltd to redirect CO2 emissions into a record-breaking 38 acre greenhouse in Billingham growing tomatoes all year round. This successful reuse of waste CO2 and heat stimulated £15 million private investment in region that realised a reduction of 12,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions and created 6 new jobs.

ISL’s recent industrial symbiosis (IS) scoping study for Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (HEY LEP) identified opportunities for the Humber Industry Cluster to use captured CO2 as feed stock for the regional chemical and pharma, food and drink and medical supply sectors, as an alternative to offshore carbon capture facilities. With IS identified as a strategic delivery tool for Humber cluster’s GHG reduction ambitions, this may yet provide a timely opportunity to address a critical UK resource supply concern.

Given that Scope 3 emissions make up by far the largest percentage of emissions from most sectors, having a national strategy for IS seems to be a key enabler for net zero ambitions. In the rush to find Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solutions to contribute to net zero are we neglecting a better first option to use an industrial symbiosis approach by re-using CO2 as a valuable input to industry?

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