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Ammonia – and Other Nitrogen-Based Fuels

Next month the print edition of Fuel Processing Technology will feature a paper entitled “Auto-ignition of a carbon-free aqueous ammonia/ammonium nitrate monofuel: a thermal and barometric analysis.” This title is provocative. First, what is this idea of a fuel composed of a mixture of ammonia and ammonium nitrate (AN)? If ammonia is a good fuel, is it made better with the addition of ammonium nitrate? Second, why is it aqueous? Is the presence of water a feature or a bug? Third, what is a monofuel and why is this term used when the fuel is a mixture of two molecular species? And finally, why is the paper ultimately about auto-ignition?

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Power to Ammonia feasibility study

The Institute for Sustainable Process Technology has just published a feasibility study that represents a major step toward commercializing renewable ammonia. It examines the "value chains and business cases to produce CO2-free ammonia," analysing the potential for commercial deployment at three companies with existing sites in The Netherlands: Nuon at Eemshaven, Stedin at Goeree-Overflakkee, and OCI Nitrogen at Geleen. The project is called Power to Ammonia.

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Industrial demonstrations of ammonia fuel in Japan

Most of the ammonia energy projects I write about are in the research and development phase but, as I've said before, technology transfer from the academic lab to commercial deployment is moving swiftly - especially in Japan. Last week, Nikkei Asian Review published two articles outlining plans by major engineering and power firms to build utility-scale demonstrations using ammonia as a fuel for electricity generation. Both projects aim to reduce the carbon intensity of the Japanese electrical grid, incrementally but significantly, by displacing a portion of the fossil fuels with ammonia. The first project will generate power using an ammonia-coal mix, while the second will combine ammonia with natural gas.

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Ammonia-Fueled Gas Turbine Power Generation

Hideaki Kobayashi, professor at the Institute of Fluid Science at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, has developed the world’s first technology for direct combustion of ammonia in a gas turbine. The advance was made in cooperation with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) under a program led by Norihiko Iki.

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Ammonia Turbine Power Generation with Reduced NOx

A common concern with ammonia fuel is that NOx emissions will be too high to control. However, in new research from Turkey, USA, and Japan, presented at this year's NH3 Fuel Conference in September 2016, two things became clear. First, NOx emissions can be reduced to less than 10ppm by employing good engineering design and exploiting the chemical properties of ammonia, which plays a dual role as both the fuel and the emissions-cleanup agent. Second, the deployment of ammonia-fueled turbines for power generation is not only feasible, but actively being developed, with demonstration units running today and improved demonstration projects currently in development.

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Ammonia for Green Energy Storage and Beyond

Siemens is participating in an all electric ammonia synthesis and energy storage system demonstration programme at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, near Oxford. The demonstrator, which will run until December 2017, is supported by Innovate UK. Collaborators include the University of Oxford, Cardiff University and the Science & Technology Facilities Council.

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Power Generation and Flame Visualization of Micro Gas Turbine Firing Ammonia or Ammonia-Methane Mixture

A demonstration test with the aim to show the potential of ammonia-fired power plant is planned using a micro gas turbine. 50kW class turbine system firing kerosene is selected as a base model. A standard combustor is replaced to a prototype combustor which enables a bi-fuel supply of kerosene and ammonia gas. Diffusion combustion is employed to the prototype combustor due to its flame stability. 44kW power generation was achieved by 100% heat from ammonia gas. Although NOx concentration in the exhaust gas of ammonia combustion exceeded 500ppm, NOx removal equipment reduced NOx concentration below 10ppm. Over 30kW power generation…

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Japan’s Fourth Strategic Energy Plan

The Cabinet of the Government of Japan adopted the country’s Fourth Strategic Energy Plan in April 2014. The Plan includes a Strategy for Hydrogen & Fuel Cells which is being executed by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). The accompanying H2/FC Road Map includes an investigation of three materials that can carry the energy embodied in molecular hydrogen: liquid hydrogen, organic hydrides such as methylcyclohexane, and ammonia.

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Study on Reduced Chemical Mechanisms of Ammonia / Methane Combustion under Gas Turbine Conditions

On September 1st, academic journal Energy & Fuels published a new paper that features research coming out of the UK's Cardiff University and Ireland's University of Limerick. This study demonstrates a "reduced mechanism" for simulating the "robust numerical analyses with detailed chemistry" necessary for the "industrial implementation" of ammonia in gas turbine combustion for "future power generation." Here's the abstract:

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Micro Gas Turbine Firing Ammonia

Micro Gas Turbine Firing Ammonia Norihiko Iki*, Osamu Kurata, Takayuki Matsunuma, Takahiro Inoue, Masato Suzuki, Taku Tsujimura and Hirohide Furutani, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute (FREA); Hideaki Kobayashi, Akihiro Hayakawa, Yoshiyuki Arakawa, Masanori Ichikawa, Institute of Fluid Science, Tohoku University