FertigHy, a company founded by EIT InnoEnergy, RIC Energy, MAIRE, Siemens Financial Services, InVivo and HEINEKEN, launches today to pioneer the low-carbon transition of the European fertiliser industry. FertigHy aims to produce affordable and low-carbon fertilisers for European farmers, answering directly to the recent challenges of the EU and global food security due to supply chain disruption and global uncertainties in natural gas supply.
FertigHy, which plans to build and operate several large-scale low-carbon fertiliser projects, will build, own and operate its first plant in Spain and replicate it in other European countries. The plant will produce more than one million metric tonnes per year of low-carbon nitrogen-based fertilisers from 100% renewable electricity and green hydrogen, with construction 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, many of them in the fields of green hydrogen, renewables and natural gas.
The agriculture sector alone is responsible for 13% of the EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions*, and European farmers are applying over 11 million tonnes of nitrogen fertilisers each year (on nutrient basis). In its “Communication on Ensuring Availability and Affordability of Fertilisers” from October 2022, the European Commission has identified the fertiliser sector as critically important and supports the transition to low-carbon fertilisers. FertigHy is an example of European industrial players deciding to invest in Europe for the continuous decarbonisation of the economy, in this case fertilizers. The initial response of the European Commission to the US IRA has been relevant for the decision to set up operations in Europe as FertigHy answers directly to the challenges the EU is facing and aims to become a European leader in the low-carbon fertiliser industry. FertigHy will work to expand its operations across Europe with an objective to reduce emissions by up to two million tonnes of CO2 per plant and per year.
José Antonio de las Heras, CEO of FertigHy, said, “There has never been greater urgency to decarbonise and collectively regain our production of fertiliser. With a plethora of 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 decarbonisation of the food value chain.”
Founded by a global consortium, FertigHy has a cross-value chain combination of initial investors. EIT InnoEnergy, the innovation engine for sustainable energy supported by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology, a body of the European Union (EU) is the originator of the new low-carbon fertiliser company and will provide business acceleration services with its European Green Hydrogen Acceleration Center (EGHAC) due to its track record in setting up new industrial companies. RIC Energy, the leading renewable energy developer, will bring its core knowledge in the photovoltaic (PV) and electricity markets. MAIRE will provide its unique experience in project development, as provider of technology and EPC contractor of ammonia and fertiliser 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 digitalisation and automation to electrification solutions. InViVo, will support as a purchaser and distributor of fertilisers to 300,000 farmers which represents over 200 cooperatives. Finally, HEINEKEN, the number one brewer in Europe, has set a goal to operate in a net zero value chain by 2040. It will stimulate the demand for low-carbon fertilisers to reduce the carbon footprint of barley and other crops. HEINEKEN is exploring various solutions to decarbonise at scale, and this is one of its many sustainable agriculture initiatives it will pilot.
Jacob Ruiter, Managing Director of EGHAC commented “FertigHy’s ambitions are fully in line with the EU’s Fit-for-55 Package or the recent REPowerEU and Green Deal Industrial Plan and demonstrates our ability to enable Europe’s net-zero industry competitiveness. This investment is also a further signal of EIT InnoEnergy’s commitment to hard-to-abate industries and a marker of our continued success with EGHAC.”