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The Korean New Deal and ammonia energy

South Korea has featured in many Ammonia Energy news updates, but often in a scatter gun fashion that lacked the momentum of ammonia energy announcements coming from the other side of the Korea Strait. Now, South Korea is ready to step out from Japan’s shadow as a clean energy innovator and deployer in its own right. We’re seeing the beginnings of a well-articulated strategy to achieve society-wide decarbonisation in South Korea, with a starring role for clean hydrogen and clean ammonia.

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The Ammonia Wrap: Ørsted’s P2X vision for the North Sea, Gunvor’s new sustainability commitments, the finance world backs green hydrogen and Hydrofuel-Ontario Tech’s new partnership

Welcome to the Ammonia Wrap: a summary of all the latest announcements, news items and publications about ammonia energy. This week: Ørsted unveils its P2X vision for the North Sea, energy trader Gunvor commits $500 million to sustainability, emissions reductions, finance world backs green hydrogen, Hydrofuel and Ontario Tech join forces and a new blue hydrogen/ammonia collaboration.

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Cardiff-KAUST-Tohoku Young Researcher Workshop on Ammonia Energy

Organised by a panel of young researchers — and for young researchers — Cardiff University, KAUST and Tohoku University hosted a virtual workshop on ammonia energy. Each group showed their most recent research developments through the two-day event, attracting 50+ participants from the three groups alone. The event included research introductions from the research leaders of each group as well as quizzes, discussion rooms, prizes. Each group selected 6 early career presenters to feature their latest work in the topics of chemistry and microflow reactors, laminar and turbulent flames and applications. Taking advantage of the discussion sessions, this workshop hopes to promote large scale international collaboration and a researcher exchange programme in ammonia energy.

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Hydrogen Council publishes Life-Cycle Analysis of Decarbonization Pathways

The Hydrogen Council has published a valuable report with a rigorous life-cycle assessment (LCA) of greenhouse gas emissions from various hydrogen applications. It illustrates the report with eight specific examples, two of which focus on ammonia. With green hydrogen as an input to ammonia used in fertilizer production, we could deliver a 96% reduction in emissions. With blue hydrogen exported and combusted as ammonia for electric power generation, we could deliver an 84% reduction in emissions. As the report states at the start: “Life-cycle emissions are coming into focus with scaling-up of hydrogen … To deliver on the sustainability promise, it is … not only important to make it economically viable, but also maximize its decarbonization potential.”

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United Nations Sparks Green Hydrogen Initiative

Last month UN Climate Change announced an initiative whose goal is to scale up green hydrogen production significantly over the next six years. “The new ‘Green Hydrogen Catapult’ initiative will see green hydrogen industry leaders, including ACWA Power, CWP Renewables, Envision, Iberdrola, Ørsted, Snam, and Yara, target the deployment of 25 gigawatts through 2026 of renewables-based hydrogen production, with a view to halve the current cost of hydrogen to below US$2 per kilogram.”

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The Cost of CO2-free Ammonia

If ammonia is to be introduced into the energy system as a CO2-free fuel, its cost must be at least competitive with that of other CO2-free fuels such as CO2-free hydrogen. In the discussion below I consider the cost aspect of CO2-free ammonia. To state my conclusion at the beginning, the cost of CO2-free ammonia can be less than 30 yen/Nm3-H2, which is the 2030 cost target for hydrogen energy set by the Japanese government in its "Basic Hydrogen Strategy” for introducing hydrogen energy into Japan.

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Saudi Arabia ships low-carbon ammonia to Japan

Last week, Saudi Aramco and the IEEJ attracted significant media attention when they announced that the first “blue” ammonia has been shipped to Japan. Aramco’s celebration of this shipment of 40 tons of ammonia (not 40 thousand or 40 million, just 40 tons) raises many questions, but makes three things clear. First, projects to demonstrate the carbon footprint of specific batches of low-carbon ammonia are now underway, and these case studies will inform the design of an international low-carbon ammonia certification scheme. Second, there is an urgent need to establish definitions across the industry, or risk losing credibility. Third, Aramco (absolutely the most profitable company in the world, with over a hundred oil and gas fields and almost 300 trillion scf of natural gas reserves) has sent a clear signal that it intends to make and sell ammonia as a decarbonized energy commodity.

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Saudi Arabia to export renewable energy using green ammonia

Last week, Air Products, ACWA Power, and NEOM announced a $5 billion, 4 gigawatt green ammonia plant in Saudi Arabia, to be operational by 2025. Air Products, the exclusive off-taker, intends to distribute the green ammonia globally and crack it back to “carbon-free hydrogen” at the point of use, supplying hydrogen refueling stations. According to Air Products’ presentation on the project, “our focus is fueling hydrogen fuel cell buses and trucks.” This will be one of the first projects to be built in the industrial hub of NEOM, a futuristic “model for sustainable living.” NEOM is a key element in Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to diversify the Saudi Arabian economy and reduce dependence on oil revenues. In other words, Saudi Arabia is establishing itself as “a global leader in green hydrogen production and green fuels.”