Ammonia Is Taken Up by Wide-Circulation Media

In the last 12 months ...
If a “meme”, in the definition of British psychology professor Susan Blackmore, “is information copied from person to person, including words, stories, technologies, fashions, and customs,” then clearly there is a meme spectrum that has “esoteric knowledge” at one end and “the common wisdom” at the other.  Where does ammonia energy fall on this spectrum?  “Esoteric knowledge” it may once have been, but this is no longer the case with the concept’s first incursions into mainstream reporting this year.

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Ammonia as a Hydrogen Carrier for Hydrogen Fuel Cells

In the last 12 months ...
Consider the attributes that characterize a good hydrogen carrier: liquid state at ambient conditions; high volumetric and gravimetric energy density; low propensity to create lethal hazards when transported, stored, and used.  Now consider that ammonia is superior to hydrogen itself in every one of these areas.  Given this, it stands to reason that proponents of hydrogen fuel cells should embrace ammonia as a valuable enabling technology that can elevate the feasibility and improve the economics of fuel-cell-based systems.  And indeed this embrace became evident over the last year.

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Targets, Limits, Pledges, Bans: Enforcing the Transition to Sustainable Energy

In the last 12 months ...
California passed a law mandating 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045; then its governor announced that the state's entire energy system - not just its electricity - would be carbon-neutral by 2045. The Hydrogen Council announced its "goal of decarbonizing 100% of hydrogen fuel used in transport by 2030." The International Maritime Organization set targets for the global shipping sector to “reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050,” and completely “phase them out, as soon as possible in this century,” and these targets were swiftly endorsed by the International Chamber of Shipping.

Regulators and self-regulating organizations around the world are enforcing systemic decarbonization and accelerating the transition to a hydrogen economy.

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Green Ammonia Plants, Commercially Available Today

In the last 12 months ...
Green ammonia pilot plants began operations in the UK and Japan, and new demonstration plants were announced in Australia, Denmark, Morocco, and the Netherlands (more, yet to be announced, are in development). Fertilizer company CEOs spoke about how green ammonia fits their corporate strategy. And all four of the global licensors of ammonia technology made it abundantly clear that they are ready and willing to build your green ammonia plant, today.

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Ammonia as a Grid-Supporting Energy Storage Solution

In the last 12 months ...
We have seen repeated enunciations of a compelling logic chain: electricity generated by wind-based and photovoltaic systems is manifesting ever-more competitive economics; the greater the share of electricity generated by intermittently active resources, the greater will be the need for complementary energy storage systems; chemical forms of “X” in the power-to-X (P2X) stored-electricity construct will surely have a role to play in long-term, large-scale energy storage; ammonia may be the most advantageous chemical for such storage.

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Ammonia for Power: a literature review

"Ammonia for Power" is an open-access literature review that includes over 300 citations for recent and ongoing research in the use of ammonia in engines, fuel cells, and turbines, as well as providing references to decades of historical case studies and publications. The review, written by a consortium of ammonia energy experts from the University of Cardiff, University of Oxford, the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council, and Tsinghua University in China, can be found in the November 2018 edition of Progress in Energy and Combustion Science.

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Ammonia for Fuel Cells: a literature review

I wrote earlier today about a new literature review on "Ammonia for Power," published in November 2018. As a companion piece to that article, I'd like to highlight another open-access literature review, this one published a few years before we launched Ammonia Energy, which focuses completely on the (perhaps unexpectedly) broad subject of direct ammonia fuel cells. The mini-review, "Ammonia as a suitable fuel for fuel cells," was published in the August 2014 edition of Frontiers in Energy Research, written by Rong Lan and Shanwen Tao of the University of Strathclyde in the UK.

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This Week in Hydrogen

September 10–14 gave us five remarkable events both evidencing and advancing the rise of hydrogen in transportation and energy. Any one of them would have made it a significant week; together they make a sea change.

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Small-scale ammonia: where the economics work and the technology is ready

The movement toward small-scale ammonia is accelerating for two reasons. First, small ammonia plants are flexible. And, second, small ammonia plants are flexible.

They are feedstock-flexible, meaning that they can use the small quantities of low-value or stranded resources that are widely available at a local scale. This includes flared natural gas, landfill gas, or wind power.

And they are market-flexible, meaning that they can serve various local needs, selling products like fertilizer, energy storage, or fuel; or services like resource independence, price stability, or supply chain robustness.

While the scale of these plants is small, the impact of this technology is big. As industry-insider publication Nitrogen+Syngas explained in its last issue, "as ammonia production moves toward more sustainable and renewable feedstocks the ammonia market is facing a potentially radical change."

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ITM Power, Sumitomo Enter Strategic Partnership

ITM Power and Sumitomo Corporation have entered into a strategic partnership “for the development of multi-megawatt projects in Japan based exclusively on ITM Power’s electrolyser products.”  The two companies will also look for collaborative opportunities outside Japan.  In a July 9 press release, ITM refers to the two companies’ shared vision for “the use of hydrogen to decarbonise heat, transport and industrial processes” as the foundation for the arrangement.

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