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The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) funds high risk, high reward transformational research to reduce energy related emissions, reduce imports of energy from foreign sources, improve energy efficiency across all economic sectors, and ensure US technological lead in advanced energy technologies, including electrochemical energy storage and transformation for grid scale and automotive applications.
Storing energy in the form of liquid fuels has numerous advantages compared to conventional methods of energy storage (ES) such as batteries (high cost, short cycle life), pumped hydro and compressed air (low energy density). Low costs of storage and transportation of liquid fuels enables long-time ES and effective energy transportation using existing infrastructure technologies. The Renewable Electricity to Fuels through Utilization of Energy-dense Liquids (REFUEL) program seeks to fund the development of transformational technologies to reduce the barriers to widespread adoption of intermittent renewable energy sources by enabling the conversion of energy from these sources, water and air to energy-dense carbon-neutral liquid fuels (CNLF). ARPA-E also funds several projects targeting small to medium scale synthesis of liquid fuels via OPEN program. Ammonia, which has high energy content and can be easily liquefied, is one of the best CNLFs. Different methods for modular production of ammonia will be discussed. One of the most promising, electrochemical synthesis of NH3, allows for direct conversion of renewable electricity to chemical energy, which simplifies the process and increases the process efficiency.
This presentation will also highlight the use of ammonia for energy generation and as a hydrogen carrier to enable the infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations for public fuel cell transportation. A comparison of thermal and electrochemical methods for hydrogen generation from ammonia will be presented.