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ACWA Power and POSCO join forces on ammonia

Saudi-based ACWA Power and South Korean-based POSCO will join forces to develop new hydrogen and ammonia production projects, with an eye towards decarbonising POSCO’s power generation and steel making activities in South Korea. The pair are already significant players in the ammonia energy space, with POSCO setting ambitious goals for production & imports, and ACWA involved in multiple mega-projects in the Middle East.

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Ammonia energy in the APAC region

When it comes to ammonia energy & Australia, the persistent theme for a few years now has been exports, exports, exports. But, does a domestic hydrogen & ammonia industry present the opportunity for Australia to move on from a “dig and ship mentality”? Can Australia develop an equivalent of the METS industry, providing the expertise, technology and services required to get more projects up-and-running overseas?

To explore these big questions, we welcome a terrific discussion panel: Cindy Lim (Keppel Infrastructure), Olivia Brace (Advisian), and Tim Rogers (Trafigura Group), and chair Penelope Howarth (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade). And - in the session before we launch into discussion - we will hear updates from some of our key ammonia energy allies in APAC. Shigeru Muraki (CFAA, Japan), Hyung Chul Yoon (KIER, Korea) and Kashish Shah (IEEFA, India) will dial-in virtually to present the latest from their home countries. Join us in-person or online, and purchase your tickets by this Friday 5 August to secure the extended early-bird rate.

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Brazil’s first electrolysis-based ammonia plant takes shape

Brazil’s largest fertiliser producer Unigel has launched the country’s first industrial-scale electrolytic hydrogen & ammonia project. 60 MW of grid-connected, thyssenkrupp nucera electrolysers will feed the production 60,000 tonnes per year of ammonia. An existing ammonia production plant in Camaçari, Bahia province will provide the foundation for the project, which seeks to leverage the high share of renewable electricity in Brazil’s national grid. In other South American news, Uruguay’s officially-released Green Hydrogen Roadmap sets out ambitious decarbonisation goals. Green ammonia has a role both as an export commodity and for domestic use.

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Ammonia solutions for the UK construction industry

The UK government will fund a new red diesel replacement project from engine developers MAHLE Powertrain and partners Clean Air Power and the University of Nottingham. The trio will demonstrate decarbonisation of heavy duty engines using ammonia and hydrogen fuel, or a blend of the two. Fortescue Future Industries and Liebherr are also involved in the decarbonisation of the UK construction sector, with agreements on hydrogen fuel supply & engine development signed last October. Fuel cells also enter this mix, with AFC Energy currently rolling out off-grid, ammonia-powered gensets on construction sites in London and Madrid.

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More funding for ammonia energy: ReMo & Monolith

ReMo Energy has just closed a successful $5 million seed funding round to develop renewable ammonia production solutions for the US Midwest. Monolith Materials announced a successful funding round of $300 million (investors include BlackRock and Temasek) to further develop its methane pyrolysis technology, expand existing facilities and clear a “deep backlog” of to-be-developed hydrogen & ammonia projects.

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Skovgaard renewable ammonia project orders electrolysers from Nel

The consortium developing the Skovgaard ammonia project has ordered an alkaline electrolyser system from Nel, bringing the 10 MW plant a step closer to reality. Skovgaard will be an important test case for hydrogen production directly from renewable energy, with no battery storage or firming to be used.

In other electrolyser news, German-based Sunfire and US-based Electric Hydrogen have received new funding to develop their technologies. Also in Germany, Siemens and Air Liquide will join forces to develop a GW-sized factory in Berlin, with 3 GW of PEM electrolyser units to be manufactured annually by 2025.

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Maritime actors push on with overcoming ammonia fuel safety concerns

Two recent reports (one from Bureau Veritas & Total, the other from the Together in Safety consortium) illustrate just how seriously the maritime industry is pursuing low carbon ammonia fuel. While progress in the maritime ammonia space is impressive, safety risks are widely-acknowledged and work remains to be done.

Both reports identify key hazards facing adoption of ammonia as a maritime fuel, and echo points heard before in the development of methanol & LNG as maritime fuels: high-risk hazards currently exist that must be eliminated, mitigated or controlled. But Together in Safety concludes the way forward will be via collaboration & shared responsibility - something we’re already seeing in the multiple high-profile safety studies and consortia working around the globe. Thankfully, the willingness of significant maritime players to engage on ammonia and the momentum for change are both high.

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Nuclear-powered ammonia production

The potential for nuclear-powered ammonia production is developing fast. Two seperate industrial consortia (Copenhagen Atomics, Alfa Larval & Topsoe, and KBR & Terrestrial Energy) have formed to develop thorium-fueled reactors, and hydrogen & ammonia production is a key part of their plans. Given nuclear electricity dominates France’s energy mix, a grid-connected electrolyser project at Borealis’ fertiliser production plant in Ottmarsheim, France will be one of the first examples of commercial-scale, nuclear-powered ammonia production. And, while capital costs & lead times remain significant, mass production of new technologies and research into flexible power production capabilities are emerging as key to unlocking nuclear-powered ammonia production.

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Ammonia energy funding & acquisitions

SK Innovation has led a successful $46 million capital funding round for New York-based Amogy. The new funds will go towards two ammonia-powered, heavy vehicle demonstration projects: an eighteen-wheel tractor trailer, and an ocean-going cargo ship. H2SITE has closed a successful €12.5 million Series A funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures to expand manufacturing capacity in Spain, and Sweden-based organisation Alfa Laval will acquire RenCat’s patented ammonia reforming technology.