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Project GERI: BP’s green ammonia feasibility study

This week, ARENA announced funding for the Geraldton Export-Scale Renewable Investment (GERI) Feasibility Study, led by BP Australia. While this project begins small, with a pilot-scale 20,000 ton per year green ammonia plant selling into domestic markets, it could lead to a 1,000,000 ton per year (1.5 GW capacity), export-oriented green ammonia plant.

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Hydrogen Filling Stations: techno-economic analysis of on-site ammonia reforming and H2 purification

This month, a team of researchers from Fuzhou University in Fujian, China, published a new paper in the journal Sustainable Energy & Fuels that provides a “Techno-economic analysis and comprehensive optimization of an on-site hydrogen refuelling station system using ammonia.” The study concludes that “the H2 production cost of the NH3-fed on-site hydrogen refuelling station was at least 15% lower than other carbon-free routes (such as electrolysis, solar thermolysis, photo-electrolysis, etc.), and comparable to that of a methane steam reforming system with carbon capture and storage.”

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Industry consortium announces feasibility study for co-firing ammonia in thermal power plants

In March 2020, IHI Corporation, JERA Co., and Marubeni Corporation announced a feasibility study "to evaluate possible applications for the co-firing of ammonia in thermal power plants." The Japanese companies have contracted with NEDO to deliver detailed technical and economic analysis on the use of ammonia as a direct fuel for power generation. In addition, with support from Woodside Energy in Australia, they "will examine the construction and operation of world-scale ammonia facilities and the optimisation of supply chain costs" to support "large-scale export of hydrogen as ammonia."

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Literature Review: Ammonia as a Fuel for Compression Ignition Engines

The diesel engine, also known as the compression ignition (CI) engine, has been a workhorse of the modern energy economy for more than a hundred years. Its role in the coming sustainable energy economy will be determined by its ability to co-evolve with climate-friendly fuels. Two researchers from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan have now examined the fit between ammonia and the CI engine. Pavlos Dimitriou and Rahat Javaid arrive at a two-part conclusion in their paper, “A review of ammonia as a compression ignition engine fuel,” published in January in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Part one is good news: “Ammonia as a compression ignition fuel can be currently seen as a feasible solution.” Part two is a dose of qualifying reality: to manage emissions of N2O, NOx, and unburnt NH3, “aftertreatment systems are mandatory for the adaptation of this technology,” which means that ammonia-fueled CI engines are likely to be feasible “only for marine, power generation and possibly heavy-duty applications where no significant space constraints exist.”

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Environmental and Economic Assessment of Ammonia as a Fuel for Ships

This month, the Korean Register published a comparative assessment of the environmental and economic merits of using ammonia as a maritime fuel. The work, written in collaboration with researchers at Pusan National University, is published in the open-access Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. It concludes that "ammonia can be a carbon-free fuel for ships," and presents "a meaningful approach toward solving GHG problems in the maritime industry."

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Royal Society publishes Green Ammonia policy briefing

This week, the UK's Royal Society published an influential "Green Ammonia" policy briefing on ammonia as a "zero-carbon fertiliser, fuel and energy store." Rather than provide a comprehensive summary here — the Royal Society policy briefing is freely available to download — I want to focus only on four specific figures. These four illustrations repackage previously available data in valuable new ways, communicating key insights around the barriers to and opportunities for ammonia energy.

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Korean Register Sees Ammonia as Preferred Alternative Maritime Fuel

Last week the classification society Korean Register of Shipping (KR) released Forecasting the Alternative Marine Fuel: Ammonia, a “technical document on the characteristics and the current status of ammonia as ship fuel.” One hesitates to take the title too literally, but the report really does forecast that ammonia will be the alternative marine fuel. Over the last year, a number of maritime transport stakeholders – engine producers, government agencies, other classification societies – have identified ammonia as a promising means of industry decarbonization. But in joining the group, KR makes a notably explicit and complete case in ammonia’s favor.

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Updating the literature: Ammonia consumes 43% of global hydrogen

For years, many people — myself included — have been saying that ammonia consumes 55% of the hydrogen produced around the world. Although there are many authoritative sources for this figure, I knew that it was likely out of date. Until now, I had overlooked the International Energy Agency (IEA) 2019 report, The Future of Hydrogen, which provides up-to-date (and publicly downloadable) data for global hydrogen demand since 1975. According to the IEA, ammonia represented almost 43% of global hydrogen demand in 2018; refining represented almost 52%, and "other" demands accounted for 6%.