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Sailing on Solar: EDF report identifies ammonia as “one of the most promising” maritime fuels

In May, the Environmental Defense Fund published Sailing on Solar, a significant new report that assesses the potential for green ammonia to be used as a maritime fuel, reducing the global shipping industry's carbon emissions. Its 60-page techno-economic analysis concludes that "green ammonia can – indeed should – be adopted as a greenhouse gas-free fuel more easily, quickly and safely than people may assume." Indeed, Sailing on Solar estimates that, to meet decarbonization targets, ammonia will need to start being adopted in ships "during the 2020s."

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Study Models NH3 Economics from Variable Energy Resources

Last week IEA Consultant Julien Armijo and IEA Senior Analyst Cédric Philibert submitted their study Flexible Production of Green Hydrogen and Ammonia from Variable Solar and Wind Energy:  Case Study of Chile and Argentina to the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy and concurrently posted it on ResearchGate.  The study addresses one of the key questions of the energy transition: what are the economics of producing hydrogen, or a hydrogen carrier such as ammonia, at sites with excellent renewable energy resources?  The answer, framed in terms of the cost-competitiveness in local markets of green ammonia vs. conventionally produced brown ammonia, casts an encouraging light on the eventual prospects for international trade in green ammonia as an energy commodity.

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Ammonia Covered in Forbes.com Power-to-X Review

Last week, Forbes.com published Power-To-X In The German Experience: Another In The List Of Growing Energy Transition Strategies.  The article in effect nominates ammonia as a singularly promising up-and-comer in the field of the alternative energy vectors.  Such an endorsement is heartening, but the article is notable as much for who is delivering the message – and the fact of its delivery under the Forbes masthead – as for what the message is.

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Feeding Life 2030: the vision of Fertilizers Europe

Fertilizers Europe published an important report in late 2018 that examines key drivers for the fertilizer industry and describes the "likely developments expected between now and 2030." These developments include producing "perhaps 10%" of European ammonia from renewable electricity by using electrolyzers to generate renewable hydrogen feedstock. This would require scaling up green ammonia production capacity to more than a million tons per year, within ten years. The report, Feeding Life 2030, also describes the policy framework required "to sustain the Vision." In this vision, ammonia sits at "the crossroads of nutrition and energy" and is recognized as "the ‘missing link’ in the coming energy transformation."

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NH3 vs. MCH: Energy Efficiency of Hydrogen Carriers Compared

Volume 174 of the journal Energy, published on May 1, 2019, includes a paper by Shin’ya Obara, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Kitami Institute of Technology in Japan, that should be of interest to hydrogen advocates everywhere.  The paper, "Energy and exergy flows of a hydrogen supply chain with truck transportation of ammonia or methyl cyclohexane," concludes that a hydrogen supply chain based on ammonia has better energy efficiency than one based on methyl cyclohexane (MCH).

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IEA Completes Two Power-to-Ammonia Reports

The International Energy Agency has completed two reports that examine the economics of hydrogen and ammonia production based on wind and solar electricity generation.  Both reports were written by IEA Consultant Julien Armijo under the supervision of IEA Senior Analyst Cédric Philibert.  One focuses on China and formalizes the findings and conclusions that were the subject of a February 2019 Ammonia Energy post.  The other focuses on Chile and Argentina.  Both reports cast an encouraging light on the near-term cost-competitiveness of green ammonia vs. conventionally produced brown ammonia in specific national markets.

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METI Releases Major Revision to Hydrogen Roadmap

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) announced on March 12 that it had released a “major revision” to the country’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Strategy Roadmap.  The Roadmap was first formulated in 2014 to “secure the goals set forth in the Basic Hydrogen Strategy and the 5th Basic Energy Plan for the realization of a hydrogen society.”  The Roadmap’s last revision in 2016 predates new editions of the foundation documents that were released in December 2017 and July 2018, respectively.

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EPRI Releases Ammonia Energy Report

Last month the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released Renewable Ammonia Generation, Transport, and Utilization in the Transportation Sector, the organization’s first public treatment of ammonia energy.  The report is positioned as a communique from the cutting edge – a “Technology Insights Brief” from EPRI’s “Innovation Scouts” – and, bracingly, manages to be both brief and comprehensive.  Within its format, it does an excellent job of conveying the positive case for ammonia energy and the R&D that will allow it to reach its potential.