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 when the NH3 Fuel Association convened a Global Advisory Board in 2016.  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.

Advisory Board member Ken-ichi Aika, Professor Emeritus of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has served as Deputy Director of the Energy Carriers program within Japan’s Cross-Ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion (SIP) Program since its inception in 2014.  The Energy Carriers program is charged with developing technologies that can be integrated to form a complete hydrogen value chain.  In August 2017, the program served as the catalyst for the formation of the Green Ammonia Consortium (GAC), comprising at the time 19 companies and three research institutions.  Aika recently reported that the GAC has added members in the interim and is preparing for full autonomy when the SIP completes its current cycle of service at the end of the first quarter 2019.

Advisory Board member Bill David, Professor of Materials Chemistry at the University of Oxford and the ISIS Neutron Facility in the United Kingdom, has been serving on a steering group chartered by the Royal Society to evaluate methods of at-scale, low-carbon hydrogen production.  The group produced a briefing in February 2018 that considered technical and economic aspects of alternative hydrogen production methods and drew the conclusion that it is indeed feasible to produce low-carbon hydrogen at scale.  The document also mentioned that “the Royal Society is exploring further the science of ammonia as an energy storage system.”  David will be lead author of the report that will document this exploration and its consideration of the opportunities and challenges associated with the production and utilization of green ammonia in its traditional markets and its adoption within a future low-carbon energy landscape.  David says the report will be published by the end of this year.

Advisory Board member John Mott, retired Chief Executive Officer of Gordon Brothers Industries in Australia, spearheaded the formation of the NH3 Fuel Association Australia (NH3FA.Oz) in August 2017.  Over the last year, group members built relationships with government officials, private-sector players, and offshore stakeholders.  In August 2018, high-profile agencies released three distinct reports attesting to the viability and desirability of hydrogen energy in Australia.  All three cite ammonia as a key enabler of the hydrogen economy.  In September, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency announced a round of grants for research on the “hydrogen energy supply chain” – including two for efforts focused on ammonia energy.  If an advocacy effort is judged by results gained in its targeted arena, NH3FA.Oz has had a notably successful first year.  Not least among the factors contributing to the positive momentum, according to Mott, is the group’s “excellent working relationship with the hydrogen energy and fuel community in Australia.”

Click to enlarge. Jacco Mooijer of Proton Ventures presents ‘Monia,’ a knitted ammonia molecule mascot, to PM Justin Trudeau of Canada, in the presence of visiting PM Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, on October 25th 2018.
Photo credit: Adam Scotti (Twitter: @AdamScotti)

Advisory Board member Hans Vrijenhoef, Managing Director of Proton Ventures, continues to wage a multi-front campaign on behalf of ammonia energy in the Netherlands.  In 2017 Vrijenhoef was instrumental in launching and supporting the Power-to-Ammonia study that was carried out under the leadership of the Netherlands’ Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT).  He and his Proton Ventures colleagues were also the conveners of the first NH3 Event power-to-ammonia conference in Rotterdam. This year, the Proton Ventures team presented the second NH3 Event to an even larger group of attendees.  And, in a veritable coup de grace, they helped launch a new company to commercialize the “battolyser” technology that had been developed at Delft University of Technology.

While tracking and supporting the activities of the Ambassadors, the Ammonia Energy Association raised its own profile in the U.S. through active engagement with the U.S. Department of Energy’s REFUEL and H2@Scale programs.

Ammonia Energy reporting on this topic since last year

A year in review

To mark the second anniversary of Ammonia Energy, we are reviewing the most important stories from the last 12 months. This “top ten” list spans two areas: five are significant advances that build on activities that were already underway in 2017, and five are new developments that emerged decisively this year.

Significant advances:

New developments:

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