Ammonia in the Mix as an Industrial Energy Source

Annual Review 2019

The generation of heat for industrial processes accounts for approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions – which means that finding ways to eliminate this climate footprint is among the pressing technology tasks on our societal to-do list.  Developments over the last 12 months suggest that ammonia could play an important role in meeting this challenge.

In December 2018, University of Adelaide Mechanical Engineering Professor Bassam Dally gave a talk on moderate or intense low-oxygen dilution (MILD) combustion at an Ammonia Energy Association Australia meeting.  This technology was developed using fossil fuels in the 1990s and in the intervening years has found application in process industries.  Dally, a prominent researcher in the field, was moved to consider ammonia as a MILD fuel by the quickening Australian interest in ammonia as a hydrogen carrier.  Dally told Ammonia Energy in March that there is a natural fit between ammonia’s inherent combustion characteristics (e.g., low flame speed) and MILD combustion dynamics, saying “they definitely can go together.”  Dally’s team is now researching “scientific and engineering solutions required to adapt carbon free renewable fuels to high temperature industrial processes” under a three-year grant from Australian Research Council.

In January 2019, Duiker Combustion Engineers of the Netherlands shared with Ammonia Energy a company paper whose thesis is that ammonia would lend itself to use as a fuel in the company’s proprietary stoichiometry-controlled oxidation (SCO) technology.  The company’s SCO units have received limited deployment in petroleum refining over the last decade.  Duiker’s Business Development Director Albert Lanser told Ammonia Energy that he realized the SCO unit could also be applied in an “ammonia to heat” cycle while attending the NH3 Event in May 2018.  Duiker now intends to develop, in collaboration with customers, versions of the SCO technology that are tailored for specific industrial processes.

Finally, at the Australian Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference in August 2019, Shigeru Muraki, Representative Director of the Green Ammonia Consortium, presented an updated version of Japan’s Ammonia Roadmap which confirms that industrial furnaces remain one of the priorities within the country’s ammonia energy program.  The Roadmap shows development and commercialization taking place through 2024 and implementation occurring thereafter.

Ammonia Energy reporting on this topic since last year

A year in review

This article is part of our Annual Review 2019. To mark the third anniversary of publishing 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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