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Ammonia production from waste: Nigerian R&D acquired by Hydrofuel

Canada-based Hydrofuel has announced the acquisition of Lumos Laboratories, a Nigerian R&D organisation that has developed technology to convert urine to a hydrogen-rich, flammable gas mixture. The production of hydrogen, ammonia, fertilisers, cooking/heating fuels and electricity generation from Lumos technologies presents an opportunity to improve sanitation & reduce reliance on solid fuels for cooking and heating, and fossil fuels for electricity generation. Under the terms of the acquisition, Hydrofuel will support the commercialisation of this technology.

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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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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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AmmoniaDrive

The University of Amsterdam and TU Delft will lead an academic-industry consortium that will determine the feasibility of combining ammonia-fed solid-oxide fuel cells with internal combustion engines for maritime propulsion. The AmmoniaDrive project just received over €2 million in support from the Dutch government, and is the latest in a series of hybrid and fuel cell-based propulsion projects using ammonia as an onboard fuel.

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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-powered vessels & maritime engines: development updates

This week we explore four announcements in the maritime ammonia space:

  • Færder Tankers Norway will receive $20 million in Enova funding to develop two ammonia-powered vessel designs: a tanker and a car carrier.
  • Mitsubishi Shipbuilding has completed a conceptual design for an LPG-ammonia dual-fuel VLGC, with Approval in Principle granted by ClassNK.
  • Delivery dates have been set for the first eight of Höegh Autoliners’ Aurora-class, ammonia-powered car carriers, with China Merchants Heavy Industry to deliver vessels from late 2024.
  • WinGD and Hyundai Heavy Industries will collaborate to deliver the first WinGD two-stroke engine capable of running on ammonia by 2025.

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Dual-fuel ammonia for power generation in South Korea

Doosan, KEPCO and Samsung will join forces to jointly develop a “dual-fuel green ammonia” power generation model that can be rolled out to 1 GW power plants in South Korea. In the trio, Doosan is charged with the development of ammonia dual-fuel boilers, indicating that coal co-firing is the target of the model rollout. As part of a different agreement, Doosan is also involved in ammonia-hydrogen gas turbine development with POSCO and KEPCO.

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Decarbonizing fossil-based ammonia production in North America

Our latest Ammonia Project Features webinar focused on various pathways for decarbonizing fossil-based ammonia production in North America. Blake Adair from Nutrien took us on a tour of some of his organisation’s existing low-carbon ammonia production facilities. He also explained how the technology solutions already exist to drive down emissions from hydrogen production, and improve rates of carbon capture. Dr. Amgad Elgowainy from Argonne National Laboratories then presented his team’s analysis of carbon dioxide mitigation costs for ammonia production, noting that current federal incentives for CCS projects already have a material impact on project costs. With incentives in place and mature technology available, we will soon see more low-carbon ammonia production projects emerge in North America.