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Gigawatt-scale electrolyzer manufacturing and deployment

ANNUAL REVIEW 2019: Electrolyzers have featured heavily at this year's Ammonia Energy Conference, which ended today. How much can innovation increase efficiency? How far can volume manufacturing drive down capex? How much could process integration with Haber-Bosch deliver improved ammonia production? How realistically can new, sophisticated strategies optimize variable and baseload power inputs? These technical questions are all important, but none defines profitability. While progress is being made on all these fronts of research and development, major industrial projects are still moving forward.

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Israeli Group Develops New Electrolysis Technology

Last month a group of researchers from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology published a paper, “Decoupled hydrogen and oxygen evolution by a two-step electrochemical–chemical cycle for efficient overall water splitting,” in the journal Nature Energy.  The key word in the title is “efficient.”  In a September 15 Technion press release, the researchers state that their technology “facilitates an unprecedented energetic efficiency of 98.7% in the production of hydrogen from water.”  Applied to the appropriate use case, the technology could lead to a major improvement in green ammonia’s ability to compete with brown ammonia and other low-carbon energy carriers.

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Yara and Nel collaborate to reduce electrolyzer costs; announce green ammonia pilot in Norway by 2022

This week, two Norwegian companies, fertilizer producer Yara and electrolyzer manufacturer Nel, announced an agreement to test Nel's "next generation" alkaline electrolyzer at an ammonia production site. The parties expect to begin operating a 5 MW prototype in 2022, feeding green hydrogen directly into Yara's 500,000 ton per year ammonia plant at Porsgrunn.

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Mission Possible: decarbonizing ammonia

Mission Possible, a major report published at the end of 2018, concludes that decarbonizing ammonia production by 2050 is both technically and economically feasible. Among its 172 pages of assumptions, analysis, and explanation, Mission Possible examines production pathways and markets for green ammonia and its derivative green nitrogen fertilizers. It addresses the relatively straightforward issue of how to replace fossil feedstocks with renewable hydrogen for ammonia synthesis, as well as the more complex question of how to source or supplant the carbon dioxide molecules contained in urea, the most common nitrogen fertilizer. The report's economic conclusions will not surprise anyone involved in ammonia production or politics. Yes, green ammonia is currently more expensive than fossil ammonia, although it won't be for long. And no, "none of the increases in end-consumer prices are sufficiently large to be an argument against forceful policies to drive decarbonization."

Paper

Analysis of influence of operating pressure on dynamic behavior of ammonia production over ruthenium catalyst under high pressure condition

Process technologies on energy conversion of renewable electricity into hydrogen energy carrier are significant to deploy long-term storage and long-distance transport of much more renewable inside and outside Japan. Ammonia is a potential hydrogen carrier that contains 17.6 wt% of hydrogen. Moreover, as an energy carrier, ammonia is thought to be a clean fuel as only water and nitrogen are produced on direct combustion. Many researchers and engineers consider that ammonia plants using hydrogen produced by solar electricity or wind electricity will be much smaller than those currently used [1]. There is an issue of low pressure condition for feed…

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Advances in Making High Purity Nitrogen for Small Scale Ammonia Generation

The presentation will address recent developments in the Solar Hydrogen Demonstration Project in which hydrogen, nitrogen and ammonia are made from solar power, water, and air; and used to fuel a modified John Deere farm tractor. In industrial applications very pure nitrogen is made by cryogenic distillation of air. Using Pressure Swing Absorption systems alone it is extremely difficult to achieve the required purity. An improved method was developed for making high purity nitrogen, for smaller systems. Will discuss how, when Oxygen contaminates the reactor catalyst, Hydrogen is used to purge the catalyst, and subsequently used as fuel.

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Design Optimization of an Ammonia-Based Distributed Sustainable Agricultural Energy System

Small-scale, distributed production of ammonia better enables the use of renewable energy for its synthesis than the current paradigm of large-scale, centralized production. Pursuant to this idea, a small-scale Haber-Bosch process has been installed at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) in Morris, MN [1] and there is ongoing work on an absorbent-enhanced process at the University of Minnesota [2], [3]. Using renewables to make ammonia would greatly improve the sustainability of fertilizer production, which currently accounts for 1% of total global energy consumption [4]. The promise of renewable-powered, distributed ammonia production for sustainability is in fact not…

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Realisation of Large-Scale Green Ammonia Plants

The global ammonia production is nowadays mostly based on fossil energy carriers (natural gas, coal, naphtha, etc.). It consumes approximately 1.4% fossil energy carriers and releases more than 1.4% of global CO2 emissions. In order to continue the global transition from the fossil fuel and nuclear energy age to the renewable energy age, ammonia could play a key role. Beside the continued utilization for fertilizer industry, ammonia could become an energy and/or hydrogen carrier as well. thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions (tkIS) developed a concept to establish Green Ammonia Plants as an alternative to conventional world-scale ammonia plants. As industry leader in…

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Roadmap to All Electric Ammonia Plants

Haldor Topsøe A/S is a world leading supplier of technology and catalyst for the ammonia industry. It is also a developer of Solid Oxide Electrolyzer technology. A road map towards all electrical ammonia plants of the future has been worked out implementing at first steps hybrid natural gas based/classical electrolyzer technology and ultimately SOEC based plants without air separation units.