Porto do Açu and Toyo Setal sign partnership for joint development of nitrogen fertilizer plant


Porto do Açu and Toyo Setal announced a partnership to develop a nitrogen fertilizer production plant in Porto do Açu (RJ). The companies will work together on the structuring, development, environmental licensing and search for strategic investors for the project. It is estimated that the future plant will have the capacity to produce 1.38 million tons of urea and 781.5 thousand tons of ammonia per year with the use of natural gas.

“The Porto do Açu is already consolidated as a logistics solution for the import of fertilizers. The partnership with Toyo Setal allows us to take a step forward in our strategy to establish Açu as a fertilizer production hub in Brazil, contributing to expand domestic production and balance our dependence on imports,” said José Firmo, Porto do Açu CEO. In 2022, more than 90% of nitrogen fertilizers consumed in Brazil were imported.

With extensive experience in fertilizer projects, Toyo Setal maintains relationships with a wide range of producers around the world and has its own production technology. The company has the largest installed capacity of ammonia and urea projects in the world. There are 87 ammonia projects and 112 urea projects in the Toyo Setal portfolio, with offices in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. The company owns the urea production technology and has a long-standing partnership with KBR in the ammonia production technology (KBR Purifier TM Process).

“Fertilizers are food for plants, which are food for animals, and both are food for humans, and are therefore an essential input for human survival. In addition to its great importance for the production of fiber and energy, the mission of providing food in quantity and quality to the population is one of the most important pillars for ensuring the peace of any society. Toyo Setal and Porto do Açu are, therefore, motivated and honored to contribute to the realization of this project that they understand to be vital for the country and aligned with the fulfillment of this mission”, points out Dorian Zen, Toyo Setal CEO.

The partnership will initially focus on technology that uses natural gas as a feedstock for fertilizer production. In a second stage, the partnership also envisages the production of green ammonia, obtained from hydrogen via water electrolysis. This year, Açu initiated the environmental licensing of a low-carbon hydrogen cluster in Açu with 4GW of installed capacity.

Consolidation of the fertilizer chain: import and blender

Porto do Açu  started handling fertilizers in 2021, when it carried out the first operation in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Since then, approximately 100,000 tons of fertilizers have been handled through the port. This year, two more warehouses were inaugurated, increasing the static storage capacity four-fold times to 110,000 tons and doubling the terminal’s area to 360,000 m².

After consolidating itself as a competitive gateway for the fertilizer market, the port complex is now moving up the value chain and working to install a fertilizer mixing unit in the port’s retro area.

State fertilizer plan for Rio de Janeiro

In line with the guidelines of the National Fertilizer Plan launched by the Federal Government in 2022, the State of Rio de Janeiro was the first unit of the federation to approve a plan to encourage the production and supply of fertilizers. The measure, instituted by Law 9.716/22, contributes to the establishment of a business environment favorable to attracting investors.

In the assessment of the Federation of Industries of Rio de Janeiro (Firjan), the program has a structuring role for the economy of Rio de Janeiro. “Firjan welcomes the news of the partnership between Porto do Açu and Toyo Setal to install a low-carbon fertilizer plant in Rio de Janeiro. As the largest producer of natural gas in the country and its strategic location, our state has total conditions to assume a leading role in Brazilian agribusiness, reversing Brazil’s external dependence in the fertilizer area and attracting investments in the new energy frontier “, concluded the president of Firjan, Eduardo Eugenio Gouvêa Vieira.