According to Molenaar, the Port of Rotterdam now has the capacity to store around 15,000 cubic meters of ammonia. “But in the future it will be millions of cubic meters.”
The DCMR director therefore asks politicians to think about transport pipelines for hydrogen and ammonia. In the future, these two gases will increasingly be used in the ports. Green hydrogen can help make the industry more sustainable and storing the toxic substance is possible with ammonia.
Molenaar is concerned about a lack of coordination in all developments and fears that transport will become fragmented. “With all its consequences. The more ammonia is transported by separate train, truck or ship, the greater the risk. With large-scale ammonia storage, you are talking about 100,000 train wagons per year, a nightmare,” he continues in conversation with the daily newspaper.
Molenaar argues that incidents can be prevented by constructing large transport pipelines. For example, he receives incidents every day, such as dozens of liters of oil leaking during loading and unloading. “That can happen with oil, but with ammonia it is dangerous,” he explains.
A recent ammonia incident occurred in Serbia. A train carrying ammonia derailed there at the end of December and the toxic substance ended up as a cloud in a nearby town. Dozens of people suffered ammonia poisoning there.
Molenaar believes that the storage standards for ammonia are extremely outdated. It dates from 2014 and is not made for the storage we expect NRC it. “If an ammonia storage facility ruptures and a toxic cloud passes over Schiedam, you will lose support for the energy transition. And your energy.”