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NH3 Energy+ and Food Security

A guest editorial by Norm Olson, President of the NH3 Fuel Association. In 2004, the NH3 Fuel Association began promoting NH3 as the best alternative fuel choice to replace gasoline and diesel fuel. Recently, I have been using the "NH3 Energy+" title in place of "NH3 Fuel" in presentations to illustrate that the benefits of NH3 go beyond fuels and go beyond energy storage (as important as these two items are). NH3 also provides a tremendous opportunity to significantly improve world food security and enable sustainable, local food production.

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On the Ground in Japan: Residential Fuel Cells

Last week Kaden Watch, a Japanese Web site for appliance news, reported that Tokyo Gas had delivered its 80,000th Ene Farm residential fuel cell system. This small news item, delivered by a niche media outlet, lifts a critical corner of the decidedly “big-tent” story of Japan’s strategy to develop a hydrogen-based energy economy. How the Ene Farm topic develops is likely to be a major factor in Japan’s ability to sustain its hydrogen vision -- and possibly a determinant of the role ammonia could play within it.

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On the Ground in Japan: LH2 and MCH Hydrogen Fueling Stations

While Japan’s Cross-Ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) continues to evaluate liquid hydrogen (LH2), methylcyclohexane (MCH), and ammonia as hydrogen energy carriers, Japanese press reports show that the backers of liquid hydrogen and MCH are building an early lead over ammonia with hydrogen fueling stations based on their favored commodities.

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Industrial demonstrations of ammonia fuel in Japan

Most of the ammonia energy projects I write about are in the research and development phase but, as I've said before, technology transfer from the academic lab to commercial deployment is moving swiftly - especially in Japan. Last week, Nikkei Asian Review published two articles outlining plans by major engineering and power firms to build utility-scale demonstrations using ammonia as a fuel for electricity generation. Both projects aim to reduce the carbon intensity of the Japanese electrical grid, incrementally but significantly, by displacing a portion of the fossil fuels with ammonia. The first project will generate power using an ammonia-coal mix, while the second will combine ammonia with natural gas.