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ThyssenKrupp’s “green hydrogen and renewable ammonia value chain”

In June, ThyssenKrupp announced the launch of its technology for "advanced water electrolysis," which produces carbon-free hydrogen from renewable electricity and water. This "technology enables economical industrial-scale hydrogen plants for energy storage and the production of green chemicals." Two weeks later, in early July, ThyssenKrupp announced that it was moving forward with a demonstration plant in Port Lincoln, South Australia, which had been proposed earlier this year. This will be "one of the first ever commercial plants to produce CO2-free 'green' ammonia from intermittent renewable resources." The German conglomerate is one of the four major ammonia technology licensors, so its actions in the sustainable ammonia space are globally significant.

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South Korea to Launch Major Fuel Cell Vehicle Initiative

Where will fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) first achieve critical mass?  Japan and California spring to mind as likely jurisdictions.  South Korea not so much.  That situation could change, though, with recent announcements from the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MTIE) in Seoul.  In fact, planned public and private sector investments could push South Korea to the front of the FCV pack. But while hydrogen-related activity of this nature can create opportunities for ammonia energy, the question always looms: are the key players in the implementing jurisdiction aware of the enabling roles ammonia can play?  Hyundai is unquestionably a key player in South Korea’s FCV landscape, and, courtesy of its support for the Australian ammonia-to-hydrogen fueling demonstration that will kick off in August, Hyundai is certainly aware, and could even become a champion, of ammonia-based FCV fueling.

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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.

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On the Ground in Japan: 5th Basic Energy Plan, LH2 Investment

Japan, widely recognized as a global leader in the development and implementation of ammonia energy, is a fascinating case study for advocates seeking a template for progress.  But, as Ammonia Energy has documented in numerous posts over the last two years, even in Japan the path is neither linear, smooth, nor preordained.  Two recent developments, one in the public sector and one in the private, illustrate anew the complexity of the evolutionary track the country is negotiating as it strives to create a sustainable energy economy.

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Australia’s Woodside Petroleum Considers Ammonia as a Hydrogen Carrier

At last week’s Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Conference, Woodside Petroleum’s chief executive officer Peter Coleman spoke about the “huge” opportunity in hydrogen energy that will develop for the company over the next 10-15 years.  Coleman sees the Japanese market for hydrogen as a promising destination for Woodside’s substantial reserves of natural gas, and indicated the company is evaluating alternative methods of hydrogen transport including as liquid H2, a liquid organic hydride, and ammonia.

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Renewable ammonia demonstration plant announced in South Australia

This week, the government of South Australia announced a "globally-­significant demonstrator project," to be built by the hydrogen infrastructure company Hydrogen Utility (H2U). The renewable hydrogen power plant will cost AUD$117.5 million ($95 million USD), and will be built by ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions with construction beginning in 2019. The plant will comprise a 15 MW electrolyzer system, to produce the hydrogen, and two technologies for converting the hydrogen back into electricity: a 10MW gas turbine and 5MW fuel cell. The plant will also include a small but significant ammonia plant, making it "among the first ever commercial facilities to produce distributed ammonia from intermittent renewable resources."

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Australian Renewable Energy Agency Issues H2 Fuel Carriers RFP

One of Ammonia Energy’s “top ten” stories of 2017 described Australia’s early steps toward export of renewable hydrogen in the form of green ammonia.  The story said that “Agencies such as the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) made it clear during the year that the country intends to build on [its historical] position” as a supplier of fossil energy to countries such as Japan.  ARENA took a tangible step in this direction on December 20, 2017 with the release of a Request for Proposal for a AUD$20 million (USD$16 million) renewable hydrogen R&D funding program.  Included in the scope, per ARENA’s 2017 Investment Plan, could be “demonstration of renewable production methods for transportable energy storage options (such as hydrogen or ammonia).”

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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.

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Ammonia-Hydrogen Energy Storage Highlighted in Australia

A new report from Australia identifies ammonia as a key part of a hydrogen-based high-volume energy storage system.  On November 20, Australia’s Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) and its Chief Scientist released “The Role of Energy Storage in Australia’s Future Energy Supply Mix.”  In addition to hydrogen, the report covers pumped hydro, batteries, compressed air, and thermal systems.  Its rationale for including ammonia is starkly simple: “Hydrogen gas is difficult to transport due to its low density; instead, it is proposed that hydrogen is converted to ammonia for transport, and then converted back to hydrogen for use.”  Although an ultimate ranking of energy storage options is not provided, the hydrogen-ammonia combination arguably emerges as the best option in terms of economics, environmental and social impact, and deployability.

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Renewable Energy for Industry: IEA’s vision for green ammonia as feedstock, fuel, and energy trade

This morning in Beijing, China, the International Energy Agency (IEA) launched a major new report with a compelling vision for ammonia's role as a "hydrogen-rich chemical" in a low-carbon economy. Green ammonia would be used by industry "as feedstock, process agent, and fuel," and its production from electrolytic hydrogen would spur the commercial deployment of "several terawatts" of new renewable power. These terawatts would be for industrial markets, additional to all prior estimates of renewable deployment required to serve electricity markets. At this scale, renewable ammonia would, by merit of its ease of storage and transport, enable renewable energy trading across continents. The IEA's report, Renewable Energy for Industry, will be highlighted later this month at the COP23 in Bonn, Germany, and is available now from the IEA's website.