A Roadmap for The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands

A number of green ammonia projects have been announced in the Netherlands since the influential Power-to-Ammonia feasibility study was published in early 2017. Perhaps the most important publication since then, however, is the roadmap published by The Northern Netherlands Innovation Board, The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands. Its scope, including sections written by consultants from ING, Rabobank, and Accenture, goes well beyond the standard techno-economic analysis and presents a cogent plan for coordinated development of "production projects, markets, infrastructure and societal issues."

Green ammonia features heavily throughout the roadmap, which calls for the construction of 300,000 tons per year of renewable ammonia production in Delfzijl by 2024, as well as for large-scale imports of green ammonia, starting in 2021, which would provide low-cost delivery and storage of carbon-free fuel, cracked into hydrogen, for the Magnum power plant.

Read more ...

Sawafuji Moves toward Commercialization of NH3-to-H2 System

On May 28 Sawafuji Electric Company issued a press release detailing advances made over the last year on the ammonia-to-hydrogen conversion technology it has been jointly developing with Gifu University.  The main area of progress is the rate of hydrogen generation, but the key takeaway from the announcement is that Sawafuji has set a schedule that culminates in product commercialization in 2020.

Read more ...

The Offshore-Wind / Ammonia Nexus

In early April the Business Network for Offshore Wind held its 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum in Princeton, New Jersey in the U.S..  Ammonia energy was not on the agenda, at least as a matter of formal programming.  But it did come up during a panel session entitled “Offshore Wind Energy Hydrogen Production, Grid Balancing and Decarbonization.”  We know this because Steve Szymanski, Director of Business Development for Proton OnSite (a subsidiary of Norway’s Nel ASA), was on the panel and says he was the one to bring it up.  The topic attracted “a lot of interest and a lot of good questions,” Szymanski said.  Nel is an industry member of the NH3 Fuel Association.

Read more ...

Safety Assessments of Ammonia as a Transportation Fuel

New data from a number of ammonia energy safety studies will be published later this year. In the meantime, two excellent reports already exist that provide comparative, quantitative risk analyses. Each compares the risks of using ammonia as a fuel in passenger vehicles against the risks of other fuels, including gasoline, LPG, CNG, methanol, and hydrogen. Both conclude that the risks associated with using ammonia as a fuel are "similar, if not lower than for the other fuels."

Read more ...

All together now: every major ammonia technology licensor is working on renewable ammonia

The second annual Power to Ammonia conference, which took place earlier this month in Rotterdam, was a tremendous success. It was again hosted by Proton Ventures, the Dutch engineering firm and mini-ammonia-plant pioneer, and had roughly twice as many attendees as last year with the same extremely high quality of presentations (it is always an honor for me to speak alongside the technical wizards and economic innovators who represent the world of ammonia energy).

However, for me, the most exciting part of this year's event was the fact that, for the first time at an ammonia energy conference, all four of the major ammonia technology licensors were represented. With Casale, Haldor Topsoe, ThyssenKrupp, and KBR all developing designs for integration of their ammonia synthesis technologies with renewable powered electrolyzers, green ammonia is now clearly established as a commercial prospect.

Read more ...

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Considers Ammonia as a Hydrogen Carrier

At last week’s Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Conference, Woodside Petroleum’s chief executive officer Peter Coleman spoke about the “huge” opportunity in hydrogen energy that will develop for the company over the next 10-15 years.  Coleman sees the Japanese market for hydrogen as a promising destination for Woodside’s substantial reserves of natural gas, and indicated the company is evaluating alternative methods of hydrogen transport including as liquid H2, a liquid organic hydride, and ammonia.

Read more ...

Small-scale ammonia production is the next big thing

Over the last few years, world-scale ammonia plants have been built, restarted, and relocated across the US. The last of these mega-projects began operations at Freeport in Texas last month. No more new ammonia plants are currently under construction in the US, and the received industry wisdom is that no more will begin construction.

However, project developers and ammonia start-ups did not get this memo. With low natural gas prices persisting, they have not stopped announcing plans to build new plants. The difference is that the next tranche of new ammonia plants breaking ground will not be world-scale but regional-scale, with production capacities of perhaps only one tenth the industry standard. Despite using fossil feedstocks, these plants will set new efficiency and emissions standards for small-scale ammonia plants, and demonstrate novel business models that will profoundly alter the future industry landscape for sustainable ammonia technologies.

Read more ...

Carbon Capture Set to Advance in the U.S.

The United States Congress passed a measure on February 9 that could galvanize the production of low-carbon ammonia in the U.S.  The measure, included within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, amends Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code, titled “Credit for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration”.  That section, originally adopted in 2008, created a framework of tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration.  45Q’s impact in the intervening years has been minimal, an outcome attributed by experts to the relatively low prices assigned to CO2 sequestration and the fact that tax credits would be allowed only for the first 75 million tonnes of sequestered CO2.  The new legislation increases the tax credit per tonne of CO2 placed in secure geological storage from $20 to $50, and for CO2 used for enhanced oil recovery from $10 to $35.  It eliminates the credits cap altogether.  With these changes, it now seems possible that low-carbon ammonia could find itself on an equal economic footing with “fossil” ammonia – and this could have consequences well beyond American agricultural markets.

Read more ...

Toyota Supports H2 Society Roll-Out on Its Home Turf; and Sees a Role for NH3

Toyota Motor Corporation announced on April 25 the launch of an effort called the Chita City and Toyota City Renewable Energy-Use Low-Carbon Hydrogen Project.  According to the company’s press release, the project is intended as a step toward “the realization of a hydrogen-based society spanning the entire region through mutual coordination and all-inclusive efforts.” 

For ammonia energy advocates, the announcement had two elements of particular significance. First is the clear indication that Toyota Motor Corporation is embracing ammonia as a hydrogen carrier – although not as a motor fuel.  Second is the project’s stated intention to establish a “system in which Aichi Prefecture certifies low-carbon hydrogen objectively and fairly.”

Read more ...