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3rd generation ammonia synthesis: new catalysts & production pathways

We look at four new developments this week:

1. A team from DTU Energy and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have uncovered a new class of alternative catalysts for mild condition ammonia synthesis. The ternary ruthenium complex hydrides Li4RuH6 and Ba2RuH6 avoid the energy-intensive pathway of nitrogen dissociation in a "synergistic" manner.

2. A team from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials reported a highly selective (95%) plasma ammonia synthesis method.

3. A team from Delft University of Technology has presented an present an "unconventional electrochemical design" that physically separates hydrogen and dinitrogen activation sites.

4. A team at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research has demonstrated a new mechanochemical ammonia synthesis system that operates at room temperature and pressures as low as 1 bar.

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Kawasaki Heavy’s LPG/ammonia carrier in demand

Kawasaki Heavy Industry's 86,700 m3, LPG and "liquefied ammonia gas" (LAG) carrier has been ordered for the fifth time in 2021. K Line, Eneos (two vessels) and now NYK (also two vessels) will take delivery of the VLGCs from KHI's Sakaide shipyards in 2023 (K Line and Eneos), and 2024 (NYK). The flexibility of the dual-purpose LPG/ammonia carrier is key to its newfound popularity.

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South Korea sets targets for hydrogen & ammonia power generation

South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced ammonia coal co-combustion will be operational in over half the country's coal-fired power generating units by 2030. The government has already set a target of 13.8 - 21.5% of national power generation coming from hydrogen & ammonia-fed gas turbines by 2050 (the 2050 Carbon Neutrality Roadmap was approved in October). To help drive the required commercialisation & technology deployment, MOTIE, KEPCO and other Korean power utilities will collaborate in a ‘Hydrogen and Ammonia Power Generation Demonstration Promotion Group’. In supply news, South Korean oil & gas major GS Energy announced this week is will join ADNOC and Japan-based Mitsui & Co. to develop the million tonne per year blue ammonia project in Al Ruwais, UAE.

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Fortescue Future Industries powers ahead on green ammonia

Fortescue Future Industries has been hitting the Ammonia Energy headlines of late. All of these various announcements point towards a singular target, announced in June by Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest: the supply of 15 million tonnes green hydrogen to global markets by 2030. Taken on their own these are significant steps, but COP26 was also the stage for a number of other significant ammonia and hydrogen-related announcements by FFI. Over the last fortnight we've seen the launch of green ammonia production projects in Papua New Guinea, Jordan & Argentina, buyers announced for a full 10% of FFI's global green hydrogen production, a partnership to decarbonise aviation and more developments in the electrolyser space.

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Woodside outlines scale for green ammonia project in Tasmania

Woodside Energy secured land this week for its H2TAS project in Bell Bay, Tasmania. A long-term lease on a partially-cleared project site nearby the Bell Bay Advanced Manufacturing Zone will be home to up to 1.7 GW of electrolysers, and a target production of 200,000 tonnes per year green ammonia. Last month Woodside also announced the H2Perth project: a world-scale, 1,500 tonnes per day hydrogen production facility aimed at local markets for refueling fuel cell vehicles, and international markets via export in the form of liquefied hydrogen or ammonia.

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Incitec Pivot investigates green ammonia supply from Newcastle to Singapore

Incitec Pivot, Keppel Infrastructure and Temasek signed a new MoU this week to investigate the production and export of green ammonia from Australia to Singapore. Incitec Pivot's existing Kooragang Island facility in Newcastle, Australia could be one source, with the other being a potential greenfield site in Gladstone. Green ammonia production also represents a potential lifeline for Incitec Pivot's Gibson Island plant in Brisbane, which will cease conventional ammonia production by the end of 2022.