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Colorado School of Mines

Paper

Energy Storage through Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis Using Proton-Conducting Ceramics

In this presentation, we provide an overview of an ambitious project to store renewable energy through electrochemical synthesis of ammonia. The joint project between the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO) and FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Danbury, CT) is supported through the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E ‘REFUEL’ program. The research and development team seeks to harness the unique properties of proton-conducting ceramics to activate chemical and electrochemical reactions for efficient and cost-effective synthesis of ammonia. The system concept is shown in Figure 1; renewable electricity is used to drive electrolysis of the H2O feedstock to form hydrogen. This electrochemically produced…

Paper

High Flow Ammonia Cracking between 400-600°C

Traditional ammonia cracking is achieved at 850-950 °C in the presence of a nickel catalyst. The reaction is highly endothermic, and maintaining these high temperatures at high flow rates of ammonia gas can be difficult. Here, we present work using our advanced ammonia synthesis catalyst in an ammonia cracking setup. We use a metallic monolith catalyst support to minimize pressure drop at high flow rates. Full NH3 cracking occurs at 600 °C, with the onset of cracking at 400 °C. An output flame can be achieved with a fully tunable ratio of hydrogen to ammonia, depending on the temperature setpoint…

Paper

Yittria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) Supports for Low Temperature Ammonia Synthesis

NH3 is important as the raw material for fertilizer production and high hydrogen density (17.7 wt. %) energy carrier. Conventionally, NH3 is synthesized through the well-known Haber-Bosch process at 400-500°C and P~150 bar. Both critical reaction conditions and massive production (145 mt NH3 in 2014 globally) make it one of the most energy extensive process, consuming 1-2% of the world’s total energy expense. Here we introduce YSZ as a more active Ru catalyst support than traditionally used supports such as Al2O3. The addition of Cs promoter increased rates an order of magnitude higher by reducing the apparent activation energy from…

Article

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.

Article

Future Ammonia Technologies: Plasma, Membrane, Redox

I wrote recently about two pathways for ammonia production technology development: improvements on Haber-Bosch, or electrochemical synthesis. Last week, I covered some of these Haber-Bosch improvements; next week, I'll write about electrochemical processes. This week, I want to write about some innovations that don't fit this two-way categorization: they don't use electrochemistry and they don't build upon the Haber-Bosch process, and that might be the only thing that links them.

Article

Improvement of Haber-Bosch: Adsorption vs. Absorption

At the recent NH3 Energy+ Topical Conference, Grigorii Soloveichik described the future of ammonia synthesis technologies as a two-way choice: Improvement of Haber-Bosch or Electrochemical Synthesis. Two such Haber-Bosch improvement projects, which received ARPA-E-funding under Soloveichik's program direction, also presented papers at the conference. They each take different approaches to the same problem: how to adapt the high-pressure, high-temperature, constant-state Haber-Bosch process to small-scale, intermittent renewable power inputs. One uses adsorption, the other uses absorption, but both remove ammonia from the synthesis loop, avoiding one of Haber-Bosch's major limiting factors: separation of the product ammonia.

Article

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.

Article

Future Ammonia Technologies: Plasma, Membrane, Redox

I wrote recently about two pathways for ammonia production technology development: improvements on Haber-Bosch, or electrochemical synthesis. Last week, I covered some of these Haber-Bosch improvements; next week, I'll write about electrochemical processes. This week, I want to write about some innovations that don't fit this two-way categorization: they don't use electrochemistry and they don't build upon the Haber-Bosch process, and that might be the only thing that links them.

Article

Improvement of Haber-Bosch: Adsorption vs. Absorption

At the recent NH3 Energy+ Topical Conference, Grigorii Soloveichik described the future of ammonia synthesis technologies as a two-way choice: Improvement of Haber-Bosch or Electrochemical Synthesis. Two such Haber-Bosch improvement projects, which received ARPA-E-funding under Soloveichik's program direction, also presented papers at the conference. They each take different approaches to the same problem: how to adapt the high-pressure, high-temperature, constant-state Haber-Bosch process to small-scale, intermittent renewable power inputs. One uses adsorption, the other uses absorption, but both remove ammonia from the synthesis loop, avoiding one of Haber-Bosch's major limiting factors: separation of the product ammonia.

Paper

Energy Storage through Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis Using Proton-Conducting Ceramics

In this presentation, we provide an overview of an ambitious project to store renewable energy through electrochemical synthesis of ammonia. The joint project between the Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO) and FuelCell Energy, Inc. (Danbury, CT) is supported through the U.S. Department of Energy ARPA-E ‘REFUEL’ program. The research and development team seeks to harness the unique properties of proton-conducting ceramics to activate chemical and electrochemical reactions for efficient and cost-effective synthesis of ammonia. The system concept is shown in Figure 1; renewable electricity is used to drive electrolysis of the H2O feedstock to form hydrogen. This electrochemically produced…

Paper

High Flow Ammonia Cracking between 400-600°C

Traditional ammonia cracking is achieved at 850-950 °C in the presence of a nickel catalyst. The reaction is highly endothermic, and maintaining these high temperatures at high flow rates of ammonia gas can be difficult. Here, we present work using our advanced ammonia synthesis catalyst in an ammonia cracking setup. We use a metallic monolith catalyst support to minimize pressure drop at high flow rates. Full NH3 cracking occurs at 600 °C, with the onset of cracking at 400 °C. An output flame can be achieved with a fully tunable ratio of hydrogen to ammonia, depending on the temperature setpoint…

Paper

Yittria-Stabilized Zirconia (YSZ) Supports for Low Temperature Ammonia Synthesis

NH3 is important as the raw material for fertilizer production and high hydrogen density (17.7 wt. %) energy carrier. Conventionally, NH3 is synthesized through the well-known Haber-Bosch process at 400-500°C and P~150 bar. Both critical reaction conditions and massive production (145 mt NH3 in 2014 globally) make it one of the most energy extensive process, consuming 1-2% of the world’s total energy expense. Here we introduce YSZ as a more active Ru catalyst support than traditionally used supports such as Al2O3. The addition of Cs promoter increased rates an order of magnitude higher by reducing the apparent activation energy from…