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Cracking Ammonia: panel wrap-up from the Ammonia Energy Conference

When should we be cracking ammonia? How much should we be cracking? How could better cracking technologies open up new end uses? What are the critical challenges still to be overcome for cracking ammonia? On November 17, 2020, the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA) hosted a panel discussion moderated by Bill David from Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), as well as panel members Josh Makepeace from the University of Birmingham, Joe Beach from Starfire Energy, Gennadi Finkelshtain from GenCell Energy, Camel Makhloufi from ENGIE, and Michael Dolan from Fortescue as part of the recent Ammonia Energy Conference. All panelists agreed that cracking technology as it stands has a number of key areas to be optimised, particularly catalyst improvements and energy efficiency. But, successful demonstrations of modular, targeted cracking solutions are accelerating the conversation forward.

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AFC Energy to Demonstrate Ammonia-Fueled Gen-Sets in 2021

AFC Energy, the British fuel cell company, announced this week that it will demonstrate its H-Power fuel cell platform in collaboration with Spanish construction firm Acciona Construcción. In an interview with the “financial media portal” Proactive Investors, AFC’s Chief Executive Officer Adam Bond suggested that the collaboration could open the door for the company’s products as temporary power solutions at construction sites, saying “it does present us with some interesting and large opportunities.”

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USDoE Issues [email protected] Funding Opportunity Announcement

Last month the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) issued a USD$64 million funding opportunity announcement (FOA) on behalf of the [email protected] program. [email protected] was launched in 2016 by representatives of several U.S. national laboratories with the goal of moving hydrogen energy technologies toward practical implementation. It is certainly one of the United States’ main vehicles for advancing the hydrogen economy. Given this, the program’s investments will do much to determine whether the U.S. is a leader or follower in ammonia energy. In June 2017, Ammonia Energy reported that “ammonia energy had started to move from the extreme periphery of the [email protected] conceptual map toward its more trafficked precincts.” The EERE FOA shows that while progress is being made, the journey is not yet complete.

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GenCell A5 update: hydrogen power from ammonia fuel cells (“The Next Big Thing in Energy Production”)

GenCell Energy, an Israeli technology company, recently announced a research collaboration with Fraunhofer UMSICHT, a German research institute, that will deliver a "scale-up of the catalyst synthesis process" for cracking ammonia. This will enable GenCell "to produce large quantities of a novel inexpensive catalyst for generation of hydrogen from ammonia."

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AFC Energy Completes Ammonia-to-Power Trials

AFC Energy PLC, the British fuel cell company, announced on May 20 the successful conclusion of “ammonia to power (‘A2P’) fuel cell generator trials.”  The result is “proof of concept” for a system consisting of an "off the shelf" ammonia cracker and a proprietary alkaline fuel cell that can readily utilize hydrogen with residual quantities of uncracked ammonia.  The achievement positions AFC “to conclude work on the business case and engineering of an integrated, scalable ammonia fuelled clean power generator.”

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Ammonia for Fuel Cells: AFC, SOFC, and PEM

In the last 12 months ... IHI Corporation tested its 1 kW ammonia-fueled solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in Japan; Project Alkammonia concluded its work on cracked-ammonia-fed alkaline fuel cells (AFC) in the EU; the University of Delaware's project for low-temperature direct ammonia fuel cells (DAFC) continues with funding from the US Department of Energy's ARPA-E; and, in Israel, GenCell launched its commercial 4 kW ammonia-fed AFC with field demonstrations at up to 800 locations across Kenya.