Norway grants $111 mln to clean hydrogen, ammonia projects

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A general view of the Yara ammonia plant in Porsgrunn, Norway August 9, 2017. REUTERS/Lefteris Karagiannopoulos/File Photo

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OSLO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Norway on Friday granted 1 billion Norwegian crowns ($111 million) in support for three projects to produce emissions-free hydrogen and ammonia, aiding a transition to a low-carbon economy, the government said.

The funding will be allocated to projects led by Yara (YAR.OL), Tizir Titanium & Iron (TTI) and Horisont Energi (HRGI.OL), government agency Enova said in a statement.

"Hydrogen is now on everyone's lips in Europe as one of the solutions to reach our climate goals. So Norway as an energy nation needs to be there," Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.

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Yara said in a separate statement it would receive 283 million crowns for a pilot project to produce emissions-free hydrogen and ammonia at its fertilizer factory at Heroeya in Norway.

A project by Horisont Energi to produce emissions-free ammonia, with carbon dioxide emissions captured and stored under the seabed in the Barents Sea, will receive 482 million crowns, the company said.

Norway's Equinor (EQNR.OL) and Eni's (ENI.MI) Norwegian subsidiary Vaar Energi are partners in the Horisont Energi project, called Barents Blue.

TTI's project, which will receive 261 million crowns, aims to replace coal with hydrogen at its smelter in Tyssedal, which produces titanium slag and high-purity iron, Enova said.

TTI is fully owned by France's Erament Group (ERMT.PA).

Enova has a mandate to support new technology which could help to transition Norway, western Europe's largest oil and gas producer, to a low-emission society by 2050.

Today, most of the hydrogen in the world is produced from natural gas, while associated carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere.

Clean hydrogen could be produced by splitting water molecules with the help of renewable energy, or by capturing and storing associated CO2.

Norway is a major producer of both renewable power and natural gas.

($1 = 8.9916 Norwegian crowns)

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Reporting by Nerijus Adomaitis and Nora Buli Editing by Mark Potter

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