Article

Ammonia combustion analysis: powertrains, turbines & power generation

This week we explore four updates in ammonia combustion R&D:

1. A team from the University of Cambridge has shown merchant vessels are the strongest candidates for conversion to run on ammonia powertrains, with cargo capacity losses of 4-9% able to be feasibly offset by operators.

2. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have successfully tested a thermochemical recuperation (TCR) reactor to improve the efficiency of a dual-fuel, diesel-ammonia compression ignition engine by minimising ammonia slip.

3. A global team led by Cardiff University researchers has revealed some of the inner workings of ammonia combustion in gas turbine flames.

4. A global team has produced a cradle-to-gate environmental assessment for ammonia production and ammonia-based electricity generation, suggesting that renewable and nuclear ammonia have a significant role to play in decarbonising the power sector.

Article

3rd generation ammonia synthesis: new catalysts & production pathways

We look at four new developments this week:

1. A team from DTU Energy and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have uncovered a new class of alternative catalysts for mild condition ammonia synthesis. The ternary ruthenium complex hydrides Li4RuH6 and Ba2RuH6 avoid the energy-intensive pathway of nitrogen dissociation in a "synergistic" manner.

2. A team from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials reported a highly selective (95%) plasma ammonia synthesis method.

3. A team from Delft University of Technology has presented an present an "unconventional electrochemical design" that physically separates hydrogen and dinitrogen activation sites.

4. A team at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research has demonstrated a new mechanochemical ammonia synthesis system that operates at room temperature and pressures as low as 1 bar.

Article

New UK joint venture for lightweight, modular ammonia crackers

Reaction Engines, IP Group, and the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) launched a new joint venture this week at COP26 in Glasgow. The group will design and commercialise lightweight, modular ammonia cracking reactors to enable the use of ammonia in hard-to-decarbonise sectors, particularly aviation, shipping and off-grid power generation applications. The design will feature Reaction Engines’ heat exchanger technology developed for its SABRE™ air-breathing rocket engine. In this setup, exhaust heat is utilised to partially crack ammonia back into a fuel blend that "mimics" jet fuel. STFC will lead development of the cracking catalyst, with funding to be provided by IP Group.

Paper

Dynamic Analysis of Flex-gNH3 – a Green Ammonia Synthesis Process

The future of a decarbonised ammonia production is seen as the alignment of the intermittent production of renewable energy, energy demands and ammonia process features. The current Haber-Bosch ammonia synthesis process can indeed be altered to enable green and sustainable ammonia production primarily being driven by renewable electricity. However, this will require to enhance current commercial Haber-Bosch (H-B) process flexibility with modifications to redefine the conventional H–B process with a new optimised control. The technical feasibility of green-ammonia (gNH3) process had been widely discussed and analysed focusing on its energy efficiency, the development of small-scale, distributed, modularised processes that can…

Article

New materials for cracking catalysts

Among the many challenges for cracking researchers is their choice of material to build their catalysts from. There is hope that cheaper, more readily-available materials will replace the Ruthenium-based catalysts that have dominated the field up to this point. This week two new pieces of research suggest a way forwards using alkali metal-based materials: Lithium and Calcium.

Article

Ammonia Energy Live April: low-carbon innovation at Hazer Group

This April we presented a new episode in our monthly webinar series: Ammonia Energy Live. Every month we’ll explore the wonderful world of ammonia energy and the role it will play in global decarbonisation - with an Australian twist. For this episode we welcomed Geoff Ward, CEO of the Hazer Group. Hazer has been steadily developing their novel methane pyrolysis technique in Western Australia with a new low-carbon hydrogen production facility to begin construction later this year. Geoff joined us to reflect on Hazer’s journey so far, familiarise our audience with their processes and give his thoughts on what needs to be put in place for similar decarbonisation projects to succeed. And - of course - we asked Geoff where ammonia fits into Hazer’s future plans! Geoff was interviewed by Andrew Dickson (Development Manager of the Asian Renewable Energy Hub at CWP Global), and Darren Jarvis (Vice President of Strategic Project Development at Incitec Pivot).

Article

The Ammonia Academic Wrap: “seamless” cracking, improving Haber Bosch, a novel green power-to-ammonia-to-power solution and a review into the use of ammonia as a fuel

Welcome to the Ammonia Academic Wrap: a summary of all the latest papers, developments and emerging trends in the world of ammonia energy R&D. This week: "seamless" ammonia cracking tech from Northwestern, a new electrolysis catalyst, successful integration of ammonia synthesis and separation for improved efficiency, more research needed into transition metal catalysts for Haber Bosch, a novel, green power-to-ammonia to power system and a review on ammonia as a potential fuel.

Article

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.

Paper

Ammonia cracking: when, how, and how much?

Cracking ammonia to produce hydrogen underpins many of the fuel-based uses of ammonia, and as such is a lynchpin technology in the case for ammonia energy. While in many ways ammonia cracking is a mature technology, systems which are designed specifically for these applications are less common. In this presentation, a general overview of the potential roles of ammonia cracking in facilitating the use of ammonia for energy applications will be outlined, including a survey of established and emerging cracking and purification technologies. A forthcoming project to produce an AEA Ammonia Cracking Technical Paper will be introduced.