Electro-Synthesis of Ammonia for Grid Scale Energy Storage


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Ceramatec Inc., in partnership with its partners, will develop a lower temperature and higher efficiency membrane process to synthesize ammonia for energy storage.

Ammonia (NH3) is carbon-free, has a high energy density (>4 kW/l), which enables many hours of energy storage from large renewable power projects in small areas, and can be back converted to electricity using turbines or fuel cells at high efficiency. Ammonia synthesis is currently carried out in very large Haber-Bosch plants, mostly fueled from natural gas. The current large-scale Haber-Bosch (H-B) technology needs to run at constant inputs of energy and reactants. Moreover, ammonia is an industrial chemical stored in massive quantities and used mainly by the fertilizer industry. The Haber-Bosch process today uses natural gas as the hydrogen source, emitting large amounts of green house gases with 1.8kg of CO2 per kg of NH3.

It would be highly desirable to produce NH3 from renewable resources such as wind and solar. The electrochemical production of this useful chemical opens the novel possibility of linking grid-scale energy storage with the chemical industry. We propose to electro-synthesize ammonia utilizing a solid electrolyte membrane reactor to decrease the cost and complexity of onsite ammonia production. This technology can significantly reduce carbon emissions and help provide fertilizer to help feed the planet without using fossil fuels.