Category: Europe

Ammonia Gas Turbines on European R&D List

ETN Global’s latest R&D Recommendation was released in October 2018.  ETN stands for European Turbine Network and its technology of interest is the gas turbine.  The 2018 Recommendation is notable because it is the first that includes ammonia on the R&D agenda.

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Committee on Climate Change sees role for ammonia enabling Hydrogen for a Low-Carbon Economy

In the UK, an expansive report was published last month that examines the role of Hydrogen in a low-carbon economy. It considers ammonia's role in depth, both as a potential low-cost hydrogen carrier and as a direct fuel.

As a hydrogen carrier, "converting hydrogen to ammonia as a means of transporting it over long distances would have lower costs than transporting it as hydrogen." And used directly, ammonia is "a hydrogen-rich liquid that could be used as an alternative or complementary fuel."

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Ammonia Featured in Hydrogen Europe Roadmaps Report

By definition, members of the ammonia energy community see ammonia as the preferred form of hydrogen in many applications.  Until recently, this view was not shared by most members of the hydrogen energy community.  Where there was awareness at all, ammonia was often seen as dangerous or irrelevant.  However, since the middle years of this decade a transition has been occurring.  Lack of awareness and wariness (let’s call this stage 1) is giving way to interest in and exploration of ammonia’s potential role in discrete applications (stage 2).  At some point, we may arrive at a third stage.  This will be characterized by the development of sustainable energy systems that have been cost-optimized with ammonia as a staple energy commodity.  In this scenario, elemental hydrogen will be the supporting actor that appears only in discrete contexts.

Hydrogen, Enabling a Zero Emission Europe, Technology Roadmaps, a report released in September 2018 by the advocacy group Hydrogen Europe, perfectly exemplifies the stage 2 mindset.  Ammonia energy is discussed in a handful of instances as a narrow-scope expedient.  To be sure, the report implies, ammonia could be a part of the solution.  But it also might not pan out at all.

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Battolyser update: combined battery-electrolyzer technology wins industry contest, targets TRL8 in 2020

Dutch start-up Battolyser BV was today declared the winner of Industrial Energy Enlightenmentz 2018. The award was announced at the annual Industry & Energy event, held at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Geleen, which this year focused on the theme When Electrons Power Molecules.

At the NH3 Energy+ Topical Conference last month, Hans Vrijenhoef of Proton Ventures gave the opening presentation, co-authored by Fokko Mulder of TU Delft, in which he described the battolyser's robust combination battery and electrolyzer. He also mapped out Battolyser BV's technology development and investment pathway, beginning with the kW-scale pilot plant that is already underway and expected to be operational by Spring 2019, and a MW-scale, modular, containerized plant which should be complete by the end of 2020. Reaching a technology readiness level of TRL8, Battolyser BV then aims to increase industrial scale swiftly, demonstrating a 100 MW unit by 2025 and a 1 GW battolyser by 2030.

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The most efficient way to decarbonise the shipping sector

A new report, Roadmap to Decarbonising European Shipping, identifies a mix of three technologies - batteries, hydrogen, and ammonia - as being "by far the most efficient way to decarbonise the sector." Even so, to satisfy demand from EU's carbon-free shipping sector in 2050, this technology mix will require the installation of huge amounts of additional renewable power generation, equivalent to 25% of the EU's total electricity production.

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New P2A2P Scheme Proposed in Norway

Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago that sits far above the Arctic Circle, is being considered for the back end of an electricity-to-ammonia-to-electricity (P2A2P) scheme.  As reported in Norway's Teknisk Ukeblad (TU), the state-owned utility Statkraft has surfaced ammonia as one of four possible hydrogen-oriented solutions to meet Svalbard’s energy needs – and then short-listed it for further study.

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Fossil Energy Companies Turn to Ammonia

In the last 12 months ...
National oil companies in Europe and the Middle East are looking to satisfy East Asian demand for clean hydrogen by exporting carbon-free ammonia. One of the biggest global LNG exporters is investigating ammonia for the same market, as it considers Australia's future as a renewable energy exporter. Oil majors are assessing ammonia's role in implementing an affordable hydrogen economy, looking toward fuel markets in California and Europe. And the biggest coal producer in China is funding the development of "the world’s first practical ammonia-powered vehicle."

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Affiliated NH3 Groups Become a Force for Advocacy

In the last 12 months ...

The vision of a worldwide network of affiliated ammonia energy advocacy groups drew closer to reality.  This a step toward fulfillment of a goal that was conceived in 2016 when the NH3 Fuel Association convened a Global Advisory Board.  The idea was to launch a body that “could help ammonia energy proponents in different countries organize nationally or regionally focused ammonia energy advocacy bodies.”  Over the last year, all four of the Advisory Board’s 'Ambassadors' played leadership roles on behalf of ammonia energy in their respective countries.

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Ammonia for Fuel Cells: AFC, SOFC, and PEM

In the last 12 months ...
IHI Corporation tested its 1 kW ammonia-fueled solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in Japan; Project Alkammonia concluded its work on cracked-ammonia-fed alkaline fuel cells (AFC) in the EU; the University of Delaware's project for low-temperature direct ammonia fuel cells (DAFC) continues with funding from the US Department of Energy's ARPA-E; and, in Israel, GenCell launched its commercial 4 kW ammonia-fed AFC with field demonstrations at up to 800 locations across Kenya.

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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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