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Gigastack Phase 2 Receives Funding in the UK

Earlier this week the United Kingdom’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that a group led by ITM Power has been awarded GBP 7.5 million (USD $9.7 million) for the second phase of a renewable hydrogen project dubbed “Gigastack.” According to the BEIS announcement, “Gigastack will demonstrate the delivery of bulk, low-cost and zero-carbon hydrogen through ITM Power’s gigawatt scale polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolysers . . .” with the goal of “dramatically reduc[ing] the cost of electrolytic hydrogen.” The hydrogen produced will be used for petroleum refining, although the project partners have their eyes on opportunities that go well beyond desulfurization of oil.

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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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Solid Oxide Technology for Ammonia Production and Use

The presentation will outline a 4 million € project funded by the Danish Energy Agency. The project is coordinated by Haldor Topsøe A/S and the partners are Vestas Wind Power, Ørsted, Energinet, Equinor, DTU Energy Conversion, and Aarhus University. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate a novel process for generation of ammonia synthesis gas without an air separation unit by means of Solid Oxide Electrolyzer Cells as well as using ammonia as a fuel for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. The synthesis gas generation plant will be a 50 kW unit. The SOFC unit test will be carried out…

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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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High efficiency ammonia synthesis systems

Haldor Topsøe A/S has developed a new technology for generation of ammonia synthesis gas via Solid Oxide electrolysis, which eliminates an air separation unit and has 20-30 % lower power consumption than traditional electrolysis based processes. The concept will be demonstrated in a 50 kW unit along with test of ammonia as fuel for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells. The partners in the project are: Vestas, Ørsted, Energinet, Aarhus University and DTU, and it is sponsored by the Danish Energy Development Programme.

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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."

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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…