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Maritime Sector is Set to Become ‘Ammonia-Ready’

Last month brought news of "the world’s first ammonia ready vessel.” According to an American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) press release, the vessel, currently under construction in China, will comply “with the ABS Ammonia Ready Level 1 requirements, indicating it is designed to be converted to run on ammonia in the future.” When completed, the 274-meter ship (and possibly two others of identical design) will join the fleet of Avin International.

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Panel discussion on next-generation ammonia synthesis

This year’s Ammonia Energy Conference included a panel discussion on next-generation ammonia synthesis, moderated by Sarb Giddey (CSIRO, Australia), and featuring panelists Doug MacFarlane (Monash University, Australia), Karthish Manthiram (MIT, United States), and Michael Stoukides (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece). The panel discussed the direct fixation of nitrogen in the form of ammonia from water and air in a single electrochemical device, which is considered the “holy grail” of ammonia synthesis. During the panel, the participants gave their perspectives on the state of the art, and the obstacles and opportunities for progress.

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Electrochemical ammonia synthesis in South Korea

One of the many encouraging announcements at the recent Power-to-Ammonia conference in Rotterdam was the news that the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) has extended funding for its electrochemical ammonia synthesis research program by another three years, pushing the project forward through 2019. KIER's research target for 2019 is significant: to demonstrate an ammonia production rate of 1x10-7 mol/s·cm2. If the KIER team can hit this target, not only would it be ten thousand times better than their 2012 results but, according to the numbers I'll provide below, it would be the closest an electrochemical ammonia synthesis technology has come to being commercially competitive.