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The full picture: an assessment of shipping’s emissions must be based on full lifecycle accounting

When you go to see a film in the cinema, the closing credits go on for another five minutes after the film is over. Although few moviegoers stay to read them, the lengthy credit rolls clearly show that a blockbuster is not just about actors but also about the hundreds of people behind the scenes. These people are as important as the main actors in the movie making process. A similar situation occurs with a ship’s climate emissions: if we only account for what’s coming out of the stacks, we don’t understand the real climate impact of the fuel. The full life-cycle of emissions contributes to climate pollution, and we need to recognise their role in climate change. Shipping is an industry with long-term planning horizons and long-lived assets. It is crucial that policy makers in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the European Union (EU) provide clear guidance and a robust policy framework to account for the full climate impact of fuels.

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A 100% Solution to Climate Change: Why is Ammonia Necessary?

It’s easy for people working on a particular technology or product to get overly focused on its wonderful promise. Sometimes we forget to consider whether or how our favorite idea fits into the larger issue. Of course, nearly everyone reading this piece in Ammonia Energy will be heartily into the idea of green ammonia as an energy carrier in a zero-emissions world. But let’s keep things in context – is green ammonia one good idea, one possibility, or is it an absolute requirement of a full solution to climate change? I looked at this question, not only for ammonia but for every category of technology, in the research and analysis project that became The 100% Solution, a recently-published book. It lays out five “pillars” that constitute the physical minimum steps needed to solve climate change.

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HIAlba-IDEA: think tank launches in Scotland to deploy CSIRO technology, become green energy exporter

NEWS BRIEF: A new policy think tank was launched last month that will focus on "why and how Scotland could benefit from being an early adopter of renewable hydrogen." Its "core starting point" is CSIRO's hydrogen-purification membrane, which enables ammonia to be used and exported as an efficient hydrogen carrier; for this use, green ammonia would be produced from offshore wind. According to the founders, this could lead to "Scotland becoming one of the largest global energy exporters in the world ... it could be the country’s main source of energy and create a knowledge economy."

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Affiliated NH3 Groups Become a Force for Advocacy

In the last 12 months ... The vision of a worldwide network of affiliated ammonia energy advocacy groups drew closer to reality.  This a step toward fulfillment of a goal that was conceived in 2016 when the NH3 Fuel Association convened a Global Advisory Board.  The idea was to launch a body that “could help ammonia energy proponents in different countries organize nationally or regionally focused ammonia energy advocacy bodies.”  Over the last year, all four of the Advisory Board’s 'Ambassadors' played leadership roles on behalf of ammonia energy in their respective countries.

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Ammonia Is Taken Up by Wide-Circulation Media

In the last 12 months ... If a “meme”, in the definition of British psychology professor Susan Blackmore, “is information copied from person to person, including words, stories, technologies, fashions, and customs,” then clearly there is a meme spectrum that has “esoteric knowledge” at one end and “the common wisdom” at the other.  Where does ammonia energy fall on this spectrum?  “Esoteric knowledge” it may once have been, but this is no longer the case with the concept’s first incursions into mainstream reporting this year.

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Ammonia Energy Coming on Like Gangbusters in Australia

NH3FA.Oz, the Australian chapter of the NH3 Fuel Association, held a meeting on August 30 in approximate observance of its one-year anniversary.  John Mott, one of the founders of NH3FA.Oz and a member of the NH3 Fuel Association’s Advisory Board, reported that more than two dozen stakeholders from academia, industry, and the public sector participated.  The meeting came on the heels of the rapid-fire release of three significant reports, and preceded by a week the announcement of an important set of research grants.  The meeting, the reports, and the announcement all made clear that ammonia  is fast becoming a fixture in Australian energy policy.

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Science Publishes “Net Zero Emissions” Paper, NH3 Seen in Prominent Role

Ammonia energy received prominent mention in a review article published in the June 29, 2018 edition of Science magazine.  Science is the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  The paper, whose main body is almost 7,000 words long, is entitled “Net zero emissions energy systems.”  While the paper's overall mission is to examine “the special challenges associated with an energy system that does not add any CO2 to the atmosphere,” the specific concerns that set it in motion relate to the idea that “energy services essential to modern civilization entail emissions that are likely to be more difficult to fully eliminate.”  The paper is a detailed investigation of technological solutions that can be applied in these areas.  Ammonia is highlighted as an “energy-dense liquid fuel” that could meet the needs of long-distance transportation services including aviation, long-distance trucking, and shipping.

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Ammonia Energy Association Announces 2018 Industry Members

As newly elected President of the Ammonia Energy Association (heretofore the NH3 Fuel Association; a formal name change announcement will be made in the fall), I am very pleased to announce our first class of industry members.  Fourteen companies have joined the Association and thereby made a tangible commitment to ammonia as a clean and affordable staple of the sustainable energy economy of the future.  At the Association’s Annual Meeting on August 15, representatives of the member companies elected eight new Directors to the Board.  Participation on Board committees was also solicited.

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Hydrogen Plans Appear, But Where Is Ammonia?

The concept of hydrogen as the centerpiece of a sustainable energy economy continues to gain momentum.  It is the focus of recent reports from France and the United Kingdom that consider the topic from two distinct but surprisingly convergent national perspectives.  And while ammonia is not given a role in either treatment, this seems to be because the authors' thinking has not arrived at a level of detail where ammonia's virtues become salient.