2.B.1 - Ammonia Production

Short description

Category Code Method AD EF
2.B.1 T2 PS D

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Method(s) applied
D Default
T1 Tier 1 / Simple Methodology *
T2 Tier 2*
T3 Tier 3 / Detailed Methodology *
CS Country Specific
M Model
* as described in the EMEP/EEA Emission Inventory Guidebook - 2019, in category chapters.
(source for) Activity Data
NS National Statistics
RS Regional Statistics
IS International Statistics
PS Plant Specific
As Associations, business organisations
Q specific Questionnaires (or surveys)
M Model / Modelled
C Confidential
(source for) Emission Factors
D Default (EMEP Guidebook)
CS Country Specific
PS Plant Specific
M Model / Modelled
C Confidential

NOx NMVOC SO2 NH3 PM2.5 PM10 TSP BC CO Heavy Metals POPs
-/- NA NA -/- NA NA NA NA -/- NA NA

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L/- key source by Level only
-/T key source by Trend only
L/T key source by both Level and Trend
-/- no key source for this pollutant
IE emission of specific pollutant Included Elsewhere (i.e. in another category)
NE emission of specific pollutant Not Estimated (yet)
NA specific pollutant not emitted from this source or activity = Not Applicable

Ammonia is synthesised from hydrogen and nitrogen, using the Haber-Bosch process. Hydrogen is produced from synthetic gas – which in turn is produced from natural gas – via a highly integrated process, steam reforming. Nitrogen is produced via air dissociation. The various plant types involved in the production of ammonia cannot be divided into individual units nor be considered as independent process parts, due to the highly integrated character of the procedure. In steam reforming, the following process parts are distinguished:

  • ACP - Advanced Conventional Process - with a fired primary reformer and secondary reforming with excess air (stoichiometric H/N ratio)
  • RPR - Reduced Primary Reformer Process - under mild conditions in a fired primary reformer and secondary splitting with excess air (sub-stoichiometric H/N ratio)


  • HPR - Heat Exchange Primary Reformer Process – autothermic splitting with heat exchange using a steam reformer heated with process gas (heat exchange reformer) and a separate secondary reformer or a combined autothermic reformer using excess air or enriched air (sub-stoichiometric or stoichiometric H/N ratio).

The following process is also used for ammonia synthesis: partial oxidation, which is the gasification of fractions of heavy mineral oil or vacuum residues in the production of synthetic gas. Most plants operate using steam-reforming, with naphtha or natural gas. Only 3 % of European plants use partial oxidation.

The production decrease of more than 15 % in the first year after German reunification was the result of a market shakeup, over 2/3 of which was borne by the new German Länder. The production level then remained nearly constant in the succeeding years until 1994. The reasons for the re-increase as of 1995 back to the 1990 level are not understood; the re-increase may however be due to a change in statistical survey methods. After 1990, production levels fluctuated only slightly. Since then, the rate of ammonia production has been stable.


There were five plants in Germany which produced ammonia, using both steam reforming and partial oxidation. Since mid-2014 there are only four left, but both processes are still used.

Activity data

As ammonia production is a key category regarding the CO2 emissions, activity data is collected plant-specifically. The data is delivered based on a cooperation agreement with the ammonia producers and the IVA (Industrieverband Agrar). The plant specific data is first made anonymous by the IVA and then is sent to the UBA.

Emission factor

For NOx and NH3 and CO, the default emission factors from the CORINAIR Guidebooks of 1 kg/t NH3 for NOx, 0.01kg/t NH3 for NH3 and 0.1 kg/t NH3 for CO are used (EEA, 2019) 1). The CO emission factor has been included since submission 2022.


With all input data remaining unrevised, no recalculations were made compared to the previous submission.

Planned improvements

At the moment, no category-specific improvements are planned.

1) EEA, 2019: EMEP EEA Emission Inventory Guidebook 2019, Oct 2019: page 15, Table 3.2: Tier 1 emission factors for source category 2.B.1 Ammonia production