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Australian Company Advances Low-Carbon Hydrogen from Methane

Hazer Group, an Australian company with technology in development for the production of low-carbon hydrogen, had a busy 2019. In April the company announced that it had received its first Australian patent. In September, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) announced the approval of “up to [AUD]$9.41 million in funding to Hazer … for the construction and operation of a groundbreaking hydrogen production facility in Munster, Western Australia.” In December Hazer announced that it was negotiating an agreement with industrial gas distributor BOC related to its Munster project. Last week the company announced that it had secured up to AUD$250,000 in grant funding from the Government of Western Australia for “a feasibility study on the creation of a renewable hydrogen transport hub." in the City of Mandurah.

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Green Ammonia Consortium: A Force for Ammonia Energy

Japan’s Green Ammonia Consortium, an industry body dedicated to building “a value chain from supply to use of CO2-free ammonia,” launched its Web site on December 5. The site features plenty of interesting content, but most significant may be the roster of members. Eighty seven companies, public organizations, and individuals are listed. Taken together they represent a significant force for ammonia energy implementation in Japan and beyond.

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Ontario Tech Develops Its Own Flavor of Direct Ammonia Fuel Cell

How simple can a fuel cell be? How about if it’s a direct ammonia fuel cell? This question came to mind during perusal of a paper that appeared in the June 2019 edition of the journal Chemical Engineering Science. The paper, “Development and performance evaluation of a direct ammonia fuel cell stack,” was written by Osamah Siddiqui and Ibrahim Dincer, both active within the Clean Energy Research Laboratory at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) in Canada. Their design may or may not ever reach the point of commercialization, but there is no denying its essential simplicity.

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Small-Scale Ammonia Synthesis Technology on Track for 2021

On October 6, 2019, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun published an article that confirmed a goal set at the 2017 launch of Japanese chemical technology developer Tsubame BHB. The goal is to have Tsubame’s ammonia synthesis technology ready for licensing in 2021. According to Tsubame’s English-language Web site, its technology “makes it possible to produce ammonia even at small-scale plants” – good news for ammonia energy project developers interested in distributed production concepts.

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Australia Issues National Hydrogen Strategy

Last month the Council of Australian Governments Energy Council – “a Ministerial forum for the Commonwealth [of Australia], states and territories and New Zealand, to work together in the pursuit of national energy reforms” – issued a 137-page report entitled Australia’s National Hydrogen Strategy. For those focused on how ammonia energy will go from promising idea to practical reality, this is what the next step – the one after the discovery of ammonia's virtues as a hydrogen carrier – could look like. The Strategy is detailed, comprehensive, and concerned with both practical measures in the near term and the arc of progress over the long term. And embedded within it are three ideas that are likely to have on-going relevance for ammonia energy implementation.

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Green Finance Prospects for Ammonia Energy

ANNUAL REVIEW 2019: Green finance, the deployment of capital to sustainable pursuits, has been gathering momentum for a decade. Kristoffer Olsen, now an independent consultant and formerly a member of the Ammonia Energy Association’s Board of Directors, argued in an August 2019 Ammonia Energy post that “Green Finance and Green Bonds can directly contribute to the decarbonisation of ammonia and future production of green ammonia fuel.” Other recent indications lend credence to Olsen’s assertion.

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Safety of Ammonia Energy: First Up, the Maritime Use Case?

ANNUAL REVIEW 2019: Ammonia.  A hazardous chemical, no doubt.  But is it too hazardous to use as an energy vector?  This is a legitimate question that must be addressed as other aspects of the ammonia energy concept advance.  It is also a question whose unique context can be evoked with two other questions: Haven’t the safety issues already been identified and resolved over the last 100 years of widespread agricultural and industrial use?  And even if they have, how will the general public react when proposals for expanded ammonia infrastructure suddenly appear? The earliest tip of this particular iceberg came into view this year when the Dutch naval architecture firm C-Job released Safe and Effective Application of Ammonia as a Marine Fuel.

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Technology Advances for Blue Hydrogen and Blue Ammonia

ANNUAL REVIEW 2019: Blue hydrogen – defined as the version of the element whose production involves carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) – represents an alluring prospect for the energy transition.  The primary “blue” feedstocks, natural gas and coal, currently set the low-cost benchmarks for storable energy commodities.  With the addition of CCS, they are expected to set the low-cost benchmarks for low-carbon storable energy commodities.  Blue ammonia is very much included in this frame of reference since CCS could be applied to the CO2 waste stream from the Haber-Bosch process.  But neither blue hydrogen nor blue ammonia are sure things; a variety of technical, financial, regulatory, and social issues could stand in the way of their widespread adoption. But work on new technologies that have the potential to ease the way for blue products has come increasingly into view over the last twelve months.

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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.