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Producing cheap, clean hydrogen: new updates

Three new updates this week:

1. A team at Durham University has shown that a massive scale-up of PEM electrolyser manufacturing capability can slash the capital costs of producing electrolyser units by up to 70%.

2. A team from the University of Campinas has proposed more focus on electrolysis of waste and seawater to produce hydrogen, avoiding direct competition between drinking water and hydrogen production.

3. A team from the Australian National University has demonstrated a new pathway forward for hydrogen production directly from sunlight by demonstrating a stable, efficient photocatalyst.

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Ammonia combustion analysis: powertrains, turbines & power generation

This week we explore four updates in ammonia combustion R&D:

1. A team from the University of Cambridge has shown merchant vessels are the strongest candidates for conversion to run on ammonia powertrains, with cargo capacity losses of 4-9% able to be feasibly offset by operators.

2. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have successfully tested a thermochemical recuperation (TCR) reactor to improve the efficiency of a dual-fuel, diesel-ammonia compression ignition engine by minimising ammonia slip.

3. A global team led by Cardiff University researchers has revealed some of the inner workings of ammonia combustion in gas turbine flames.

4. A global team has produced a cradle-to-gate environmental assessment for ammonia production and ammonia-based electricity generation, suggesting that renewable and nuclear ammonia have a significant role to play in decarbonising the power sector.

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3rd generation ammonia synthesis: new catalysts & production pathways

We look at four new developments this week:

1. A team from DTU Energy and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have uncovered a new class of alternative catalysts for mild condition ammonia synthesis. The ternary ruthenium complex hydrides Li4RuH6 and Ba2RuH6 avoid the energy-intensive pathway of nitrogen dissociation in a "synergistic" manner.

2. A team from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials reported a highly selective (95%) plasma ammonia synthesis method.

3. A team from Delft University of Technology has presented an present an "unconventional electrochemical design" that physically separates hydrogen and dinitrogen activation sites.

4. A team at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research has demonstrated a new mechanochemical ammonia synthesis system that operates at room temperature and pressures as low as 1 bar.

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Recovering ammonia fuel from wastewater & agricultural waste

This week we look at three new ammonia recovery projects:

1. A team from the Delft University of Technology has demonstrated that ammonia recovery via vacuum membrane stripping of a wastewater feed can be used to power a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC).

2. In the UK, a new consortium including the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and the University of Leeds has received government funding to demonstrate a novel solution to harvest green ammonia from pig waste.

3. A team from the Ukrainian National University of Food Technology has proposed a new method of sourcing useable ammonia fuel from poultry waste via anaerobic digestion.

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WinGD to develop ammonia maritime engines by 2025

Swiss-based engine developer WinGD has announced that its current portfolio of low-speed maritime engines will be ready to operate on methanol and ammonia by 2024 and 2025 respectively. Although WinGD's diesel-fueled X Engine series will require retrofits, the X-DF Engine series is already designed to run on biogas and will not require major modifications to run on methanol or ammonia.

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Kawasaki Heavy’s LPG/ammonia carrier in demand

Kawasaki Heavy Industry's 86,700 m3, LPG and "liquefied ammonia gas" (LAG) carrier has been ordered for the fifth time in 2021. K Line, Eneos (two vessels) and now NYK (also two vessels) will take delivery of the VLGCs from KHI's Sakaide shipyards in 2023 (K Line and Eneos), and 2024 (NYK). The flexibility of the dual-purpose LPG/ammonia carrier is key to its newfound popularity.

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ZeroCoaster: ammonia-fueled cargo shipping

AFC Energy has designed a developed a containerised, integrated, ammonia-fed propulsion system that will power the new "ZeroCoaster" vessel design. The ZeroCoaster consortium, led by Vard Engineering and including ABB, Trosvik Maritime, SINTEF Ocean and HK Shipping (plus support from the Norweigian government) is developing the next generation of coastal bulk cargo carriers. With the propulsion system design in place, DNV GL granted commercial Approval in Principle to the ZeroCoaster design this week, allowing the consortium to begin discussions with potential buyers.

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4.4 million tonnes per year renewable ammonia in Chile

Total Eren will lead development of the H2 Magallanes project in southern Chile. Up to 10 GW of onshore wind capacity will power 8 GW of electrolysers, a desalination plant, an ammonia production plant and port facilities to export the product to local and global markets. At full capacity, 4.4 million tonnes of renewable ammonia will be produced every year. Although H2 Magallanes is still in the pre-feasability stage, it will be launched in 2025, with the aim to begin hydrogen electrolysis in 2027.

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Green ammonia port hubs in the UK and Australia

H2 Green will develop a renewable energy hub at the Port of Shoreham in West Sussex. The initial focus will be the electrification and use of hydrogen fuel in the Port's vehicle fleet (heavy forklifts and trucks), before expanding to accommodate the ~800 heavy goods vehicles that enter the port daily. The second phase will be an ammonia import facility to meet growing demands for hydrogen fuel in the surrounds. In Australia, the Geelong Hydrogen Hub will be developed by CAC-H2, a developer who is also planning two carbon-negative, waste-to-ammonia projects in Australia. The Geelong Hub includes multiple, new-build infrastructure elements including import/export & cracking facilities. Similar to Shoreham, import of green ammonia to meet growing demand for hydrogen fuel is the second phase of the project.