Article

A road ahead via lithium-mediated electrochemical nitrogen reduction?

Realisation of electrochemical nitrogen reduction to ammonia has proven to be a herculean scientific challenge. Recently, a focus on Lithium-mediated synthesis has delivered promising results. Last year a team from Monash University in Australia unveiled their phosphonium “proton shuttle” method, and this year have reported nearly 100% Faradaic efficiency for the reaction (with promising reaction rates). Late last year, a team from the Technical University of Demark (DTU) reported that addition of small amounts of oxygen gas drastically increased Faradaic efficiencies and production rates. The results push electrochemical synthesis R&D ever-closer to elusive benchmarks set for commercial realisation.

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First Ammonia announces deal for 5GW of Topsoe electrolysers

US-based First Ammonia has announced a new reservation deal with Topsoe for delivery of solid-oxide electrolysers. Initially, First Ammonia will purchase 500 MW of SOECs from Topsoe’s new manufacturing plant in Herning, Denmark, with the option to expand to 5 GW over the lifetime of the agreement. That initial 500 MW will be deployed over two First Ammonia production projects, both targeting commercial operations in 2025: one in northern Germany, and one in southwest USA.

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Ammonia Green Corridors – The Opportunity Is Now

Since the Clydebank Declaration was signed last December, the prospect of ammonia-fueled, green maritime corridors has been steadily rising. The Global Maritime Forum has just released a valuable discussion paper on potential definitions and approaches for green corridors. Recent announcements in Europe, Singapore, Australia and the Nordic countries demonstrate growing momentum. For maritime stakeholders to capture early learnings and best manage the complex task of alternative maritime fuel scale-up, the opportune time is right now.

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Skovgaard renewable ammonia project orders electrolysers from Nel

The consortium developing the Skovgaard ammonia project has ordered an alkaline electrolyser system from Nel, bringing the 10 MW plant a step closer to reality. Skovgaard will be an important test case for hydrogen production directly from renewable energy, with no battery storage or firming to be used.

In other electrolyser news, German-based Sunfire and US-based Electric Hydrogen have received new funding to develop their technologies. Also in Germany, Siemens and Air Liquide will join forces to develop a GW-sized factory in Berlin, with 3 GW of PEM electrolyser units to be manufactured annually by 2025.

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Ammonia energy funding & acquisitions

SK Innovation has led a successful $46 million capital funding round for New York-based Amogy. The new funds will go towards two ammonia-powered, heavy vehicle demonstration projects: an eighteen-wheel tractor trailer, and an ocean-going cargo ship. H2SITE has closed a successful €12.5 million Series A funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures to expand manufacturing capacity in Spain, and Sweden-based organisation Alfa Laval will acquire RenCat’s patented ammonia reforming technology.

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Topsøe planning new electrolyser manufacturing plant

Herning, Denmark will be the location for Haldor Topsøe’s new electrolyser manufacturing facility. The new facility will have an annual production capacity of 500 MW-worth of solid-oxide electrolyser units, scaling up to 5 GW. Topsøe’s announcement is the latest in a series of recent news items, suggesting that the momentum for electrolyser scale-up is building.

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Denmark approves national PtX strategy

Denmark’s new national PtX strategy has received bipartisan support from the country’s parliament. A number of policy levers - a government-backed tender process, a national electrolysis target, creating new regulatory frameworks and incentivising developers to build socially and economically responsible PtX projects - were approved. The suite of measures will unlock green fuel production potential across the country, with ammonia forecast to be the cheapest long-term option amongst the hydrogen derivatives.