Last month the NH3 event Europe Foundation released a “call for papers” for the 2nd European Conference on Sustainable Ammonia Solutions. The conference will take place in Rotterdam on May 17 and 18, 2018, almost exactly a year after the 1st Conference.
This is further fulfillment of a vision articulated by Hans Vrijenhoef, Managing Director of Proton Ventures in the Netherlands, during the formation of the NH3 Fuel Association’s Global Ammonia Energy Federation (GAEF) in 2016. In Vrijenhoef’s view, the rising level of activity and interest in ammonia energy created a compelling opportunity and need for a European conference.
Vrijenhoef, a charter member of the GAEF Advisory Board, established the NH3 event Europe Foundation to serve as the convener of the conference. His team proceeded to bring in sponsors, line up speakers, and see to the myriad organizational details of a two-day international conference. Their efforts attracted 24 speakers and 135 attendees. Speakers included representatives from companies such as Yara, Casale, and Siemens; universities such as the Delft University of Technology, University of Cardiff, and Università degli Studi di Perugia; and technical bodies such as the International Energy Agency.
Attendee feedback on the conference was strongly positive. In a note of congratulations, NH3 Fuel Association President Norm Olson wrote, “this event was clearly a great success and represents another significant step forward for NH3.”
The announcement of the 2nd Conference demonstrates the commitment of Vrijenhoef and his team to enlarging the ammonia energy community in Europe. In an email interview last week, Vrijenhoef described plans to increase the scope of the conference on several dimensions. “We aim to have more speakers,” he said, which may lead to the inclusion of parallel break-out sessions during the program. He also said that the attendance target is 150-175 individuals. This will facilitate the “move to another venue, more centrally located in Rotterdam.” Under consideration is the city’s Floating Pavilion, a recently constructed facility that consists of three connected hemispheres anchored in the city’s old harbor. “The Floating Pavilion is a very sustainable venue and fits very well to the topic of the conference,” Vrijenhoef said.
Power-to-ammonia, a particular focus of last year’s conference, will be featured again, along with themes such as ammonia in transportation. “We already have confirmed a speaker from a ship design company that will give a presentation about propulsion on ammonia,” Vrijenhoef said. Ammonia Energy reported on 1st Conference presentations on both the production and use aspects of the power-to-ammonia concept.
Vrijenhoef said that the emphasis will again be on speakers from European countries. Of the ten who have been confirmed so far, nine hail from the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Belgium. The tenth is from Japan. Vrijenhoef also expects that “speakers from USA and Australia will be confirmed soon.”
The conference’s website says that the aim is “to gather thought societies, industries and academics, including well-known experts, developers and scientists to present the latest research results, present achievements, application fields and business prospects in energy solutions.” The subject matter ranges from “lab scale concepts and innovative research,” to commercial technologies, to “business cases, vision stories, [and] Dutch and European future ambitions.”
Ultimately, Vrijenhoef said, a key impact of the conference will be on public policy in the Netherlands and the European Union. In the Netherlands, a new government came into office in October 2017. In its platform, Vrijenhoef said, “the words ‘ammonia energy’ appeared as a potential solution for storing sustainable energy.” The most important factor driving the government’s interest is the commitment to ammonia energy shown by “local industries like Yara, Nuon, Vattenfall, Proton Ventures, and OCI” – the latter a global producer of natural gas-based fertilizers and industrial chemicals based in the Netherlands.
Yara and Proton Ventures are already shown on the conference Web site as sponsors, along with the Dutch company Vicoma Engineering.
The Web site indicates that registration will open this month. It says that the registration fee is €545 (excluding VAT) for the full conference or €349 (excluding VAT) for a single day. The fee covers a “walking dinner” on the evening of the first day.