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Monash University

Paper

High-productivity electrosynthesis of ammonia from dinitrogen

The so-called lithium redox-mediated nitrogen reduction reaction presents the only known process enabling genuine electrochemical conversion of N2 to ammonia. Notwithstanding the rapidly increasing investigative efforts, the commonly reported performances of the Li-mediated N2 electroreduction, viz. yield rate, current-to-ammonia (faradaic) efficiency and durability in operation, still pertain to the domain of academic research rather than practical development. Our most recent work focused on redesigning the key components of the electrolytic N2 reduction cell enabled breakthroughs in all the key metrics of the process. Specifically, we have introduced a stable proton shuttle based on the phosphonium cation that delivers protons to…

Article

The Ammonia Academic Wrap: a new new breakthrough for eNRR research and more

This week: a new breakthrough for eNRR research, ammonia production from food waste and brown-water, the huge potential of green ammonia production from hybrid solar-wind across the globe, predicted cost dynamics of electrolyser technology, and hydrogen production using selective ion membranes.

Article

Ammonia Energy Live March 2021: event wrap

Last week we presented the second episode in our monthly webinar series: Ammonia Energy Live. Every month we’ll explore the wonderful world of ammonia energy and the role it will play in global decarbonisation - with an Australian twist. This episode we welcomed Sammy Van Den Broeck, VP Project & Portfolio at Yara Clean Ammonia. Sammy was invited to give his thoughts on the key challenges and opportunities in the global ammonia transition, and explain to us why Australia is so important to Yara's future clean ammonia plans. Interviewing Sammy were Jacinta Bakker (Research Fellow in the MacFarlane Laboratory at Monash University) and Allison Gwilt (Senior Project Engineer, Future Fuels at Origin Energy).

Paper

Whither Aqueous Electro-reduction of Nitrogen to Ammonia?

Electrochemical reduction of N 2 (NRR) is widely recognised as an alternative to the traditional Haber-Bosch production process for ammonia. The high-energy efficiency, low-cost variant of this process involves an aqueous electrolyte and there is now a substantial literature on this topic. However, though the challenges of NRR experiments have become better understood, the reported rates in these aqueous solution studies are often too low to be convincing that reduction of the highly unreactive N 2 molecule has actually been achieved. Unfortunately, there are many possible impurity sources that can interfere with robust measurements. In this presentation we will discuss…

Article

Panel discussion on next-generation ammonia synthesis

This year’s Ammonia Energy Conference included a panel discussion on next-generation ammonia synthesis, moderated by Sarb Giddey (CSIRO, Australia), and featuring panelists Doug MacFarlane (Monash University, Australia), Karthish Manthiram (MIT, United States), and Michael Stoukides (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece). The panel discussed the direct fixation of nitrogen in the form of ammonia from water and air in a single electrochemical device, which is considered the “holy grail” of ammonia synthesis. During the panel, the participants gave their perspectives on the state of the art, and the obstacles and opportunities for progress.

Article

AEA Australia Announces 2020 Conference

Pandemic or no pandemic, the Australian chapter of the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA Australia) will hold a second edition of its Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference this year. The event will be held on a virtual basis on August 27 and 28 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. (Australian Eastern Standard Time) each day. The conference tagline is “Building an energy export industry using Green Ammonia.” Its themes this year will be “green ammonia production — jobs for the regions;” “ammonia as maritime bunker fuel;” and “ammonia certification schemes.” The opening address, entitled “Ammonia — is it a fuel, or is it an energy carrier?” will be given by Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist of the Australian Government.

Article

Monash team publishes Ammonia Economy Roadmap

Earlier this month, Doug MacFarlane and his team of researchers at Monash University published A Roadmap to the Ammonia Economy in the journal Joule. The paper charts an evolution of ammonia synthesis “through multiple generations of technology development and scale-up.” It provides a clear assessment of “the increasingly diverse range of applications of ammonia as a fuel that is emerging,” and concludes with perspectives on the “broader scale sustainability of an ammonia economy,” with emphasis on the Nitrogen Cycle. The Roadmap is brilliant in its simple distillation of complex and competing technology developments across decades. It assesses the sustainability and scalability of three generations of ammonia synthesis technologies. Put simply, Gen1 is blue ammonia, Gen2 is green ammonia, and Gen3 is electrochemical ammonia. It also outlines the amount of research and development required before each could be broadly adopted (“commercial readiness”). The paper thus provides vital clarity on the role that each generation of technology could play in the energy transition, and the timing at which it could make its impact.

Article

Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference: panel discussion recap

The Ammonia Energy Association Australia’s Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference took place on 22-23 August 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. It attracted 115 attendees from industry, government, and research institutions. This is the first of two articles about the event; this article recaps the interactive panel sessions and the second article will highlight selected presentations. The panel discussions were placed at the end of the program so that important themes from the presentations could be highlighted and integrated. These themes included: 1) Building an energy export industry using green ammonia; 2) Green ammonia as a maritime bunker fuel; and 3) Green ammonia as grid scale energy storage – a battery to the nation.

Paper

Progress and challenges in ammonia synthesis by electrochemical processes

Efficient production of ammonia from renewable energy represents an important technology for future means of global transportation of renewable energy from remote land and marine areas where it can be generated inexpensively at massive scale. The direct electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (eNRR), coupled with the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), is an attractive approach to the generation of ammonia from renewables and this talk will overview the technology options in respect of this process. The eNRR as carried out in traditional solvents is of relatively low efficiency under ambient conditions compared to other energy storage mechanisms and this is currently limiting…

Article

The global quest to decarbonize ammonia production

NEWS BRIEF: The industrial process for ammonia production is increasingly being recognized as a target for decarbonization - by researchers, investors, regulators, and the producers themselves. Demonstrating this shift in awareness, Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN), one of the flagship publications of the American Chemical Society (ACS), this week published an in-depth review of global research and development efforts and demonstration plants for sustainable ammonia synthesis. Its review is all-encompassing, from near-term feasible renewable Haber-Bosch plants, to long-term research areas of electrochemistry, photocatalysis, and bioengineering.

Article

AEA Australia conference announced for August 2019: Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Australian chapter of the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA Australia) has announced details of its inaugural conference, which will take place on August 22 and 23, 2019, and will be held at CSIRO in Clayton, Victoria. Entitled "Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0," the conference will focus on the role of ammonia within the Australian hydrogen economy, specifically "Building an energy export industry using Green Ammonia." In addition to a full program of talks by invited speakers, networking events will include panel discussions, a poster session, and the conference dinner. Registration for the event is now open, with an early booking discount available until July 5.

Article

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.

Article

Science Publishes Feature Article on Ammonia Energy

On July 13, Science magazine, the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), published a 2,800-word “feature article" on ammonia energy. The article, headlined, “Liquid sunshine: Ammonia made from sun, air, and water could turn Australia into a renewable energy superpower,” is uniformly open-minded and upbeat.  Its opening section ends with a quote from Monash University Professor of Physics and Chemistry Doug MacFarlane; “’Liquid ammonia is liquid energy,’ he says. ‘It's the sustainable technology we need.’” MacFarlane helped launch the Australian chapter of the NH3 Fuel Association.

Article

Future Ammonia Technologies: Electrochemical (part 1)

Last month's NH3 Energy+ conference featured presentations on a great range of novel ammonia synthesis technologies, including improvements to Haber-Bosch, and plasmas, membranes, and redox cycles. But, in a mark of a conference approaching maturity, members of the audience had at least as much to contribute as the presenters. This was the case for electrochemical synthesis technologies: while the presentations included updates from an influential industry-academia-government collaboration, led by Nel Hydrogen's US subsidiary, the audience members represented, among others, the new electrochemical ammonia synthesis research lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a team from Monash University in Australia. The very next week, Monash published its latest results, reporting an electrochemical process that synthesized ammonia with 60% faradaic efficiency, an unprecedented rate of current conversion at ambient pressure and temperature.

Paper

High Efficiency Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia from Nitrogen at Ambient Temperature and Pressure

Ammonia as well as being an important fertiliser is being increasingly considered as an easily transported carrier of hydrogen energy. However, the traditional Haber-Bosch process for the production of ammonia from atmospheric nitrogen and fossil fuels is a high temperature and pressure process that is energy intensive. Newer technology is being investigated to produce sustainable ammonia from green energy. An ambient temperature, electrochemical synthesis of ammonia is an attractive alternative approach, but has, to date, not been achieved at high efficiency. Researchers from Monash University have obtained faradaic efficiency as high as 60% using liquid salt electrolytes under ambient conditions,…

Article

Carbon Pricing and the Economics of Green Ammonia

The United States Senate is expected to open confirmation hearings for Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson on January 11. Tillerson, newly retired from Exxon Mobil, became the chief executive officer of that company in 2006. He has attracted many labels since his nomination was announced, but “climate denier” is not among them.

Article

The Ammonia Academic Wrap: a new new breakthrough for eNRR research and more

This week: a new breakthrough for eNRR research, ammonia production from food waste and brown-water, the huge potential of green ammonia production from hybrid solar-wind across the globe, predicted cost dynamics of electrolyser technology, and hydrogen production using selective ion membranes.

Article

Ammonia Energy Live March 2021: event wrap

Last week we presented the second episode in our monthly webinar series: Ammonia Energy Live. Every month we’ll explore the wonderful world of ammonia energy and the role it will play in global decarbonisation - with an Australian twist. This episode we welcomed Sammy Van Den Broeck, VP Project & Portfolio at Yara Clean Ammonia. Sammy was invited to give his thoughts on the key challenges and opportunities in the global ammonia transition, and explain to us why Australia is so important to Yara's future clean ammonia plans. Interviewing Sammy were Jacinta Bakker (Research Fellow in the MacFarlane Laboratory at Monash University) and Allison Gwilt (Senior Project Engineer, Future Fuels at Origin Energy).

Article

Panel discussion on next-generation ammonia synthesis

This year’s Ammonia Energy Conference included a panel discussion on next-generation ammonia synthesis, moderated by Sarb Giddey (CSIRO, Australia), and featuring panelists Doug MacFarlane (Monash University, Australia), Karthish Manthiram (MIT, United States), and Michael Stoukides (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece). The panel discussed the direct fixation of nitrogen in the form of ammonia from water and air in a single electrochemical device, which is considered the “holy grail” of ammonia synthesis. During the panel, the participants gave their perspectives on the state of the art, and the obstacles and opportunities for progress.

Article

AEA Australia Announces 2020 Conference

Pandemic or no pandemic, the Australian chapter of the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA Australia) will hold a second edition of its Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference this year. The event will be held on a virtual basis on August 27 and 28 from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. (Australian Eastern Standard Time) each day. The conference tagline is “Building an energy export industry using Green Ammonia.” Its themes this year will be “green ammonia production — jobs for the regions;” “ammonia as maritime bunker fuel;” and “ammonia certification schemes.” The opening address, entitled “Ammonia — is it a fuel, or is it an energy carrier?” will be given by Alan Finkel, Chief Scientist of the Australian Government.

Article

Monash team publishes Ammonia Economy Roadmap

Earlier this month, Doug MacFarlane and his team of researchers at Monash University published A Roadmap to the Ammonia Economy in the journal Joule. The paper charts an evolution of ammonia synthesis “through multiple generations of technology development and scale-up.” It provides a clear assessment of “the increasingly diverse range of applications of ammonia as a fuel that is emerging,” and concludes with perspectives on the “broader scale sustainability of an ammonia economy,” with emphasis on the Nitrogen Cycle. The Roadmap is brilliant in its simple distillation of complex and competing technology developments across decades. It assesses the sustainability and scalability of three generations of ammonia synthesis technologies. Put simply, Gen1 is blue ammonia, Gen2 is green ammonia, and Gen3 is electrochemical ammonia. It also outlines the amount of research and development required before each could be broadly adopted (“commercial readiness”). The paper thus provides vital clarity on the role that each generation of technology could play in the energy transition, and the timing at which it could make its impact.

Article

Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference: panel discussion recap

The Ammonia Energy Association Australia’s Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0 Conference took place on 22-23 August 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. It attracted 115 attendees from industry, government, and research institutions. This is the first of two articles about the event; this article recaps the interactive panel sessions and the second article will highlight selected presentations. The panel discussions were placed at the end of the program so that important themes from the presentations could be highlighted and integrated. These themes included: 1) Building an energy export industry using green ammonia; 2) Green ammonia as a maritime bunker fuel; and 3) Green ammonia as grid scale energy storage – a battery to the nation.

Article

The global quest to decarbonize ammonia production

NEWS BRIEF: The industrial process for ammonia production is increasingly being recognized as a target for decarbonization - by researchers, investors, regulators, and the producers themselves. Demonstrating this shift in awareness, Chemical and Engineering News (C&EN), one of the flagship publications of the American Chemical Society (ACS), this week published an in-depth review of global research and development efforts and demonstration plants for sustainable ammonia synthesis. Its review is all-encompassing, from near-term feasible renewable Haber-Bosch plants, to long-term research areas of electrochemistry, photocatalysis, and bioengineering.

Article

AEA Australia conference announced for August 2019: Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Australian chapter of the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA Australia) has announced details of its inaugural conference, which will take place on August 22 and 23, 2019, and will be held at CSIRO in Clayton, Victoria. Entitled "Ammonia = Hydrogen 2.0," the conference will focus on the role of ammonia within the Australian hydrogen economy, specifically "Building an energy export industry using Green Ammonia." In addition to a full program of talks by invited speakers, networking events will include panel discussions, a poster session, and the conference dinner. Registration for the event is now open, with an early booking discount available until July 5.

Article

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.

Article

Science Publishes Feature Article on Ammonia Energy

On July 13, Science magazine, the flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), published a 2,800-word “feature article" on ammonia energy. The article, headlined, “Liquid sunshine: Ammonia made from sun, air, and water could turn Australia into a renewable energy superpower,” is uniformly open-minded and upbeat.  Its opening section ends with a quote from Monash University Professor of Physics and Chemistry Doug MacFarlane; “’Liquid ammonia is liquid energy,’ he says. ‘It's the sustainable technology we need.’” MacFarlane helped launch the Australian chapter of the NH3 Fuel Association.

Article

Future Ammonia Technologies: Electrochemical (part 1)

Last month's NH3 Energy+ conference featured presentations on a great range of novel ammonia synthesis technologies, including improvements to Haber-Bosch, and plasmas, membranes, and redox cycles. But, in a mark of a conference approaching maturity, members of the audience had at least as much to contribute as the presenters. This was the case for electrochemical synthesis technologies: while the presentations included updates from an influential industry-academia-government collaboration, led by Nel Hydrogen's US subsidiary, the audience members represented, among others, the new electrochemical ammonia synthesis research lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a team from Monash University in Australia. The very next week, Monash published its latest results, reporting an electrochemical process that synthesized ammonia with 60% faradaic efficiency, an unprecedented rate of current conversion at ambient pressure and temperature.

Article

Carbon Pricing and the Economics of Green Ammonia

The United States Senate is expected to open confirmation hearings for Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson on January 11. Tillerson, newly retired from Exxon Mobil, became the chief executive officer of that company in 2006. He has attracted many labels since his nomination was announced, but “climate denier” is not among them.

Paper

High-productivity electrosynthesis of ammonia from dinitrogen

The so-called lithium redox-mediated nitrogen reduction reaction presents the only known process enabling genuine electrochemical conversion of N2 to ammonia. Notwithstanding the rapidly increasing investigative efforts, the commonly reported performances of the Li-mediated N2 electroreduction, viz. yield rate, current-to-ammonia (faradaic) efficiency and durability in operation, still pertain to the domain of academic research rather than practical development. Our most recent work focused on redesigning the key components of the electrolytic N2 reduction cell enabled breakthroughs in all the key metrics of the process. Specifically, we have introduced a stable proton shuttle based on the phosphonium cation that delivers protons to…

Paper

Whither Aqueous Electro-reduction of Nitrogen to Ammonia?

Electrochemical reduction of N 2 (NRR) is widely recognised as an alternative to the traditional Haber-Bosch production process for ammonia. The high-energy efficiency, low-cost variant of this process involves an aqueous electrolyte and there is now a substantial literature on this topic. However, though the challenges of NRR experiments have become better understood, the reported rates in these aqueous solution studies are often too low to be convincing that reduction of the highly unreactive N 2 molecule has actually been achieved. Unfortunately, there are many possible impurity sources that can interfere with robust measurements. In this presentation we will discuss…

Paper

Progress and challenges in ammonia synthesis by electrochemical processes

Efficient production of ammonia from renewable energy represents an important technology for future means of global transportation of renewable energy from remote land and marine areas where it can be generated inexpensively at massive scale. The direct electrochemical nitrogen reduction reaction (eNRR), coupled with the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), is an attractive approach to the generation of ammonia from renewables and this talk will overview the technology options in respect of this process. The eNRR as carried out in traditional solvents is of relatively low efficiency under ambient conditions compared to other energy storage mechanisms and this is currently limiting…

Paper

High Efficiency Electrochemical Synthesis of Ammonia from Nitrogen at Ambient Temperature and Pressure

Ammonia as well as being an important fertiliser is being increasingly considered as an easily transported carrier of hydrogen energy. However, the traditional Haber-Bosch process for the production of ammonia from atmospheric nitrogen and fossil fuels is a high temperature and pressure process that is energy intensive. Newer technology is being investigated to produce sustainable ammonia from green energy. An ambient temperature, electrochemical synthesis of ammonia is an attractive alternative approach, but has, to date, not been achieved at high efficiency. Researchers from Monash University have obtained faradaic efficiency as high as 60% using liquid salt electrolytes under ambient conditions,…