Ammonia Energy Mainstreaming Expands to Governments


An item in the last Annual Review described an upwelling of attention for ammonia energy from mainstream media outlets.  Over the last 12 months, the process of ‘mainstreaming’ has started to spread to another important constituency: governments.

Consider the United Kingdom.  In a July report addressing the country’s maritime sector, “hydrogen and ammonia production technologies [were seen] as offering the most significant potential economic benefits to the UK.”  The report also observed that “the UK also has a strong competitive position in relation to ammonia production technologies.”  These are encouraging words, which, since they come from the U.K.’s Department for Transport, are effectively official doctrine.  One month later, the U.K.’s Department of Business, Economy, and Industrial Strategy announced a “£390 million [USD $506 million] government investment in hydrogen and low carbon tech,” including £249,000 (USD $323,000) for research on the role of ammonia in the transport and storage of hydrogen.  Joining Siemens, Engie, and consulting firm Ecuity in the latter effort is yet another U.K. government agency, the Science and Technology Facilities Council.

Regular readers will know that governmental mainstreaming is already well afoot in Australia.  Most recently, a representative of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) used her presentation at the Ammonia Energy Association-Australia’s Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference, held in August, to affirm ammonia’s importance within the agency’s 2019 investment plan.  ARENA is focused on practical mechanisms that can help green hydrogen production scale to the point where producers can start to address opportunities in export markets. The agency sees the country’s existing ammonia industry as an early collaborator in this process and, in October, announced investments with a combined value of AUS $2.9 million (US $2.0 million) in two green ammonia development projects at existing plants in Queensland.  Mainstreaming is also evident at the state level.  In September, for example, South Australia released its Hydrogen Action Plan which highlighted ammonia as “one of the most prospective chemical carriers of hydrogen.”

The International Energy Agency is a multilateral institution and not a governmental body.  But it did make a strong statement in favor of ammonia energy in its landmark report The Future of Hydrogen, released in June.  The IEA found that ammonia would be the most cost-effective method of hydrogen transportation and storage in several scenarios, and acknowledged that “ammonia would be even more attractive if it could be used directly by the end consumer, thereby avoiding the additional costs of reconverting it back into hydrogen.”  Clearly, conclusions of this nature will help bring ammonia energy into the mainstream within other governments of the IEA’s 30 member countries.


A Year in Review

This article is part of our Annual Review 2019. To mark the third anniversary of Ammonia Energy, we are highlighting ten “tip-of-the-iceberg” topics that we’ve written about over the last 12 months. In each case, we think we see something just peeking above the current flow of events that is developing into a major phenomenon below the surface.

Read all the stories in our Annual Review 2019.

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