FertigHy, a company founded by EIT InnoEnergy, RIC Energy, MAIRE, Siemens Financial Services, InVivo and HEINEKEN, recently launched as part of the low-carbon transition of the European fertilizer industry. FertigHy aims to produce affordable and low-carbon fertilizers for European farmers, answering to the recent challenges of the EU and global food security reportedly due to supply chain disruption and global uncertainties in natural gas supply.
FertigHy, which plans to build and operate several large-scale low-carbon fertilizer projects, will build, own and operate its first plant in Spain and replicate it in other European countries. The company states the plant will produce more than one million metric tons per year of low-carbon nitrogen-based fertilizers from 100% renewable electricity and green hydrogen. Construction is planned to start in 2025. José Antonio de las Heras will be leading FertigHy and brings more than 25 years of C-level executive and non-executive corporate and venturing experience.
The agriculture sector alone accounts for 13% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions. European farmers apply over 11 million tons of nitrogen fertilizers yearly (on a nutrient basis). In its “Communication on Ensuring Availability and Affordability of Fertilizers” from October 2022, the European Commission has identified the fertilizer sector as important and supports the transition to low-carbon fertilizers. FertigHy reports that it is an example of European industrial players deciding to invest in Europe for the continuous decarbonization of the economy, in this case, fertilizers.
José Antonio de las Heras, CEO of FertigHy, says, “There has never been greater urgency to decarbonize and collectively regain our fertilizer production. With many factors at play in Europe in 2023 the time to establish a greener and self-sufficient industry for all is now. FertigHy will rebuild resilience against disrupted supply chains while promoting sovereignty for the agriculture industry and security of supply by accelerating the decarbonization of the food value chain.”
Founded by a global consortium, FertigHy has a cross-value chain combination of initial investors. EIT InnoEnergy, a body of the European Union (EU) is the originator of the new low-carbon fertilizer company and states it will provide business acceleration services with its European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center (EGHAC). RIC Energy will reportedly bring its knowledge to the photovoltaic (PV) and electricity markets.
MAIRE will aid in project development, as a provider of technology and EPC contractor of ammonia and fertilizer plants. Siemens Financial Services, which became a shareholder of EIT InnoEnergy in late 2021, joins the consortium to bring its experience in financing large-scale industrial projects focused on sustainability and facilitate the alignment with the entire Siemens ecosystem, with solutions ranging from factory digitalization and automation to electrification solutions.
InViVo will support as a purchaser and distributor of fertilizers to 300,000 farmers, representing over 200 cooperatives. Finally, HEINEKEN has set a goal to operate in a net zero value chain by 2040. HEINEKEN is exploring various solutions to decarbonize at scale, and this is one of the sustainable agriculture initiatives it will pilot.