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Maritime ammonia engines in Japan; ammonia shipbuilding in South Korea

This week, Japan Engine Corporation (J-ENG) announced the launch of a new R&D program, in collaboration with the National Maritime Research Institute, that focuses on engine development for "combustion of carbon-free fuel (e.g. hydrogen and ammonia)." Five hundred miles across the Sea of Japan, DSME has completed a techno-economic feasibility study comparing three fuels: HFO (with scrubber), LNG, and ammonia. The results of this study will be presented at the Ammonia Energy Conference, in Orlando, FL, on November 13. DSME is one of the three big shipbuilders in South Korea, and its business case for ammonia is strong enough that now "DSME is planning to expand our technology and business to NH3 engineering and systems for commercial ships."

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Fuel Economy Standards, and the Roles of Ammonia

In the news this week, California and four automakers (BMW, Ford, Honda and VW) signed an agreement on fuel economy standards, rising 3.7% per year to about 50 MPG in 2026. This agreement, as well as previous California and Federal standards, give automakers flexibility to meet the standards with incentives and credits for new technology such as electric, hybrid, and alternative fuel vehicles.

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Fossil Energy Companies Turn to Ammonia

In the last 12 months ... National oil companies in Europe and the Middle East are looking to satisfy East Asian demand for clean hydrogen by exporting carbon-free ammonia. One of the biggest global LNG exporters is investigating ammonia for the same market, as it considers Australia's future as a renewable energy exporter. Oil majors are assessing ammonia's role in implementing an affordable hydrogen economy, looking toward fuel markets in California and Europe. And the biggest coal producer in China is funding the development of "the world’s first practical ammonia-powered vehicle."

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Targets, Limits, Pledges, Bans: Enforcing the Transition to Sustainable Energy

In the last 12 months ... California passed a law mandating 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045; then its governor announced that the state's entire energy system - not just its electricity - would be carbon-neutral by 2045. The Hydrogen Council announced its "goal of decarbonizing 100% of hydrogen fuel used in transport by 2030." The International Maritime Organization set targets for the global shipping sector to “reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050,” and completely “phase them out, as soon as possible in this century,” and these targets were swiftly endorsed by the International Chamber of Shipping. Regulators and self-regulating organizations around the world are enforcing systemic decarbonization and accelerating the transition to a hydrogen economy.

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This Week in Hydrogen

September 10–14 gave us five remarkable events both evidencing and advancing the rise of hydrogen in transportation and energy. Any one of them would have made it a significant week; together they make a sea change.

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NH3 Energy+ Topical Conference schedule published

This week, the NH3 Fuel Association published the full technical schedule for the NH3 Energy+ Topical Conference, which will be hosted within the AIChE Annual Meeting, on October 31, 2018, in Pittsburgh, PA. Featuring more than 50 oral presentations, this year's event will be our busiest yet. Speakers and co-authors from 16 countries, and 18 states across the USA, will present research and development from 68 separate companies and research institutions. Registration for the AIChE Annual Meeting is now open, with reduced rates until September 17. Full details are at the NH3 Fuel Association website.

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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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A new strategy for internal combustion of ammonia

Of all the devices that can convert the chemical energy in ammonia to electricity, gas turbines and fuel cells appear to be receiving the lion’s share of development effort, outstripping that devoted to ammonia-fueled internal combustion engines (A-ICEs).  An Ammonia Energy review last year found a number of organizations with histories of work on A-ICE technology, but reports of progress have not been forthcoming.  It was good news, therefore, when a representative of a newly engaged group appeared at the NH3 Energy+ Topical Conference earlier this month and delivered a talk on an innovative A-ICE “combustion strategy.”  Donggeun Lee from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University (SNU) delivered the paper, entitled “Development of new combustion strategy for internal combustion engine fueled by pure ammonia,” on behalf of his co-authors, Hyungeun Min, Hyunho Park, and Han Ho Song.