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Fortescue Making Major Move into Green Energy

Last week the Sydney Morning Herald featured this headline: "Fortescue to take on fossil fuel giants with expansion into green energy." Bold words, but it turns out the headline does not overstate Fortescue’s ambitions for its new business, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). “FFI will finance, develop and operate renewable energy projects including green hydrogen and green ammonia plants,” the accompanying story says, with the "aim to build 235 gigawatts of installed energy capacity.”

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METI Forms Ammonia Energy Council

Last week, Japan’s Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry (METI) announced the formation of a council to work on the implementation of ammonia as an energy commodity. The announcement came on the same day as a speech by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in which he established 2050 as the date certain for Japan to achieve carbon-neutrality. That was Monday October 26, 2020. The council held its first meeting on Tuesday October 27. The Council consists of four entities from the public sector and ten from the private sector. Members include companies that have previously been identified with the development of ammonia energy systems, including EPC firm JGC, capital goods manufacturer IHI, electric utility JERA, and shipping company NYK Line. The membership also reflects what appears to be the group’s central mission: positioning Japan as ammonia energy’s global leader via the dissemination of technology and the development of supply chains.

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Japan’s Electricity Sector: An Early Market for Low-Carbon Ammonia

This week, Japan’s new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that by 2050 the country would drive its greenhouse gas emissions to zero and achieve carbon-neutrality. Earlier in the month, the Japanese electric utility JERA announced its intention of “achieving zero CO2 emissions by 2050.” Its first step toward this goal was its 'JERA Zero CO2 Emissions 2050 Roadmap for its Business in Japan.'

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The Future is Here for Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cell Technology

Earlier this month the journal Science published “Recent advances in solid oxide cell technology for electrolysis." The paper advances two important theses: first, solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) technology has an important role to play in the sustainable energy economy of the future; second, SOEC technology has achieved a set of economics that make commercial viability possible today.

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New IEA Report: One Take on the Sustainable Energy Economy

Last week the International Energy Agency released Energy Technology Perspectives 2020. The report has an upbeat tone, envisioning a high degree of feasibility for the development and deployment of relevant technologies. For those working in the sustainable energy field, though, the aspect of greatest interest may be the relative weights placed on fossil fuels, bioenergy, and hydrogen.

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EPRI, GTI Launch Low-Carbon Initiative

Last month the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) announced a new undertaking: the Low-Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI). According to the organizations’ press release, over the next five years they will work together and with collaborating companies to “accelerate the development and demonstration of low-carbon energy technologies.”

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Haldor Topsøe and Partners Issue Ammonfuel Report

Earlier this month Haldor Topsoe and four partners issued Ammonfuel - an industrial view of ammonia as marine fuel. According to the accompanying press release, the 59-page report provides “a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the applicability, scalability, cost, and sustainability of ammonia as a marine fuel.” The partners include Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, Hafnia, and Alfa Laval.

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Hydrogen Stands Out in BP’s New Strategy

Last week oil major BP released its second quarter financial results – and used the occasion to share the company’s new strategy. “We aim to be a very different kind of energy company by 2030,” the company said, “as we scale up investment in low-carbon, focus our oil and gas production and make headway on reducing emissions.” “Investment in low-carbon” turns out to involve full embrace of the hydrogen paradigm circa 2020: power-to-gas; carbon capture, utilization, and storage; and the possibility of a “hydrogen export” business based on ammonia.

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AEA Australia Announces 2020 Conference

Pandemic or no pandemic, the Australian chapter of the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA Australia) will hold a second edition of its Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference this year. The event will be held on a virtual basis on August 27 and 28 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. (Australian Eastern Standard Time) each day. The conference tagline is “Building an energy export industry using Green Ammonia.” Its themes this year will be “green ammonia production — jobs for the regions;” “ammonia as maritime bunker fuel;” and “ammonia certification schemes.” The opening address, entitled “Ammonia — is it a fuel, or is it an energy carrier?” will be given by Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist of the Australian Government.

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Europe! (part 3)

The European Commission has added two building blocks to its burgeoning structure of economic and environmental policy initiatives. In separate communications on July 8, the EC announced An EU Strategy for Energy System Integration and A Hydrogen Strategy for a Climate-Neutral Europe. Together the two strategies present a practical pathway toward a sustainable energy economy.