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ARPA-E’s “transformative” ammonia synthesis technologies

The US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA-E) is funding projects with a view to commercializing low- and zero-carbon ammonia synthesis technologies. Grigorii Soloveichik, ARPA-E Program Director, described the aims and challenges of his agency's initiative and introduced the technologies currently in development in his keynote presentation at the recent NH3 Fuel Conference, in September 2016.

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Sturman Industries’ Dual-Fuel Ammonia Engine

Eddie Sturman, noted inventor and co-founder of Sturman Industries, has been developing ammonia internal-combustion-engine (ICE) technology for several years – "at least six, maybe more." At the 2016 NH3 Fuel Conference, he provided the most in-depth look so far at the results of Sturman Industries' R&D program. Specifically, his talk featured a dual-fuel compression ignition engine powered by a combination of diesel fuel and ammonia.

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Australia’s Concentrated Solar Fuels Program

Solar ammonia' could be the key to the sustainable energy economies of two nations. During his talk at the 2016 NH3 Fuel Conference, Keith Lovegrove, Head of Solar Thermal at IT Power Group in Australia, said that Japan and Australia have the opportunity to move their trade in energy onto a climate-friendly foundation. This would involve development of Australia's solar resources in a way that helps Japan ramp up its Strategy for Hydrogen & Fuel Cells in the coming decades.

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Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of NH3 as a Transportation Fuel in Ontario

A recent paper from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, published in June 2016, provides new data on the relative efficiency and safety of using ammonia as a transportation fuel. It presents a cradle-to-grave "comparative life cycle assessment" for a range of vehicles, encompassing the vehicle cycles (manufacturing, maintenance, and disposal) and the fuel cycle (operation).

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A Roadmap for Ammonia Fuel in Fujian Province

Researchers from Fujian Province presented their work at the 2016 NH3 Fuel Conference, and introduced the far-reaching plans of the Ammonia Fuel Synergy group at the College of Energy, Xiamen University, in China. Forest (Zhaolin) Wang's presentation, Ammonia as a Key to Meeting the Fuel Demand of China, contained valuable insight into the potential of ammonia fuel in China, and outlined the group's roadmaps for developing an ammonia-natural gas dual fueled car by 2018, and an ammonia-methanol dual fuel car by 2020.

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H2 @ Scale: US DOE’s Request for Information

The ammonia energy community has an opportunity to provide input to the United States Department of Energy (USDOE) as it defines priority areas for its new "H2 @ Scale" initiative. The USDOE posted a Request for Information (RFI) on September 9. Interested parties are invited to comment on all aspects of the H2 @ Scale concept. The deadline for comments is November 4. A link to the RFI is provided below.

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Ammonia Fuel Cells: SOFC stack test and system analysis

New research, recently published in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, demonstrates that solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems fueled with ammonia could be "more efficient than equivalent hydrogen-based" systems. This new paper comes out of the Fuel Cell Lab at the University of Perugia, in Italy, and builds upon years of research coming out of that laboratory on the use of ammonia and urea in fuel cells.

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Ammonia Turbine Power Generation with Reduced NOx

A common concern with ammonia fuel is that NOx emissions will be too high to control. However, in new research from Turkey, USA, and Japan, presented at this year's NH3 Fuel Conference in September 2016, two things became clear. First, NOx emissions can be reduced to less than 10ppm by employing good engineering design and exploiting the chemical properties of ammonia, which plays a dual role as both the fuel and the emissions-cleanup agent. Second, the deployment of ammonia-fueled turbines for power generation is not only feasible, but actively being developed, with demonstration units running today and improved demonstration projects currently in development.

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Nuon – Power to Ammonia

In March 2016 the Dutch utility Nuon announced that it will study the possibility of storing "seasonal surplus" electricity from wind and solar in the form of ammonia. The study by Nuon and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) is part of the project "Power to Ammonia." The study will be conducted at Nuon's Magnum power station.

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Japan’s Fourth Strategic Energy Plan

The Cabinet of the Government of Japan adopted the country’s Fourth Strategic Energy Plan in April 2014. The Plan includes a Strategy for Hydrogen & Fuel Cells which is being executed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The accompanying H2/FC Road Map includes an investigation of three materials that can carry the energy embodied in molecular hydrogen: liquid hydrogen, organic hydrides such as methylcyclohexane, and ammonia.