BY KARL HAWTHORNEDiamond Chemical, one of the UK’s biggest producers of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, has agreed to buy the rights to produce more than 2,000 tonnes of ammonia and methane a year from algae.
The deal, announced on Tuesday, will bring the UK into line with Australia, Germany, France and the US for nitrogen fertiliser production.
The algae is one of many algae species that have flourished in the UK over the past 15 years.
In a statement Diamond said it was investing $2.5 million to develop algae in a new production site in the North Sea, which is about 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the UK capital London.
The company is currently working on another project, with a target of producing 1,000kg of nitrogen a year.
In recent years it has also been working with the US to develop ammonia as a way to increase its supply.
It is not yet clear how much ammonia will be produced and whether it will be exported.
The UK Government said the deal was the biggest ever for ammonia, which can be used in fertilisers.
Diamond is also the biggest producer of synthetic nitrous oxides, which are commonly used in the construction industry.
Diamond’s algae is produced at its plant in Wacker near Bournemouth in the north of England, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of London.
It has a capacity of about 6,000 litres (20,000 cubic feet) of ammonia per year.