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Hydrogen and Ammonia Discussed in Australian Energy Storage Report

The Australian report Comparison of dispatchable renewable electricity options does the very useful service of quantifying the energy storage landscape in dollars and cents.  It reaches many interesting conclusions, not the least of which is that hydrogen, and by explicit extension, ammonia, is the key option for long-cycle storage.  And while the study’s focus is Australia, “with costs in AUD and based on Australian conditions,” its lead author says that “much of the information and many of its findings are expected to hold independent of jurisdiction.”

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Green ammonia demonstration plants now operational, in Oxford and Fukushima

Two new pilot projects for producing "green ammonia" from renewable electricity are now up and running and successfully producing ammonia. In April 2018, the Ammonia Manufacturing Pilot Plant for Renewable Energy started up at the Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute - AIST (FREA) in Japan. Earlier this week, Siemens launched operations at its Green Ammonia Demonstrator, at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory outside Oxford in the UK. The commercial product coming out of these plants is not ammonia, however, it is knowledge. While both the FREA and Siemens plants are of similar scale, with respective ammonia capacities of 20 and 30 kg per day, they have very different objectives. At FREA, the pilot project supports catalyst development with the goal of enabling efficient low-pressure, low-temperature ammonia synthesis. At Siemens, the pilot will provide insights into the business case for ammonia as a market-flexible energy storage vector.

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Sustainable Energy for Wales: Tidal and Wind with Ammonia Storage

As part of the sustainable agenda of the UK, the government, research institutions and various enterprises have looked for options to reduce the carbon footprint of the country while ensuring energy independence for several years. As a response, one of the alternatives has been to introduce the use of marine energy via the implementation of a barrage in the Severn Estuary or the development and implementation of Tidal Lagoons located around the Welsh coast. From these alternatives, the tidal lagoon concept seems to be most feasible. Hybrid tidal and wind energy systems will produce vast amounts of energy during off-peak hours that will require the use of energy storage technologies - the size of each proposed tidal lagoon ranges close to ~1.5 GW. Currently, companies involved in the development of these complexes are thinking of batteries, pumped hydro, and ammonia as the potential candidates to provide storage for these vast amounts of energy.

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Ammonia-Hydrogen Energy Storage Highlighted in Australia

A new report from Australia identifies ammonia as a key part of a hydrogen-based high-volume energy storage system.  On November 20, Australia’s Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) and its Chief Scientist released “The Role of Energy Storage in Australia’s Future Energy Supply Mix.”  In addition to hydrogen, the report covers pumped hydro, batteries, compressed air, and thermal systems.  Its rationale for including ammonia is starkly simple: “Hydrogen gas is difficult to transport due to its low density; instead, it is proposed that hydrogen is converted to ammonia for transport, and then converted back to hydrogen for use.”  Although an ultimate ranking of energy storage options is not provided, the hydrogen-ammonia combination arguably emerges as the best option in terms of economics, environmental and social impact, and deployability.

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Future of Ammonia Production: Improvement of Haber-Bosch Process or Electrochemical Synthesis?

Ammonia, the second most produced chemical in the world (176 million tons in 2014), is manufactured at large plants (1,000 – 1,500 t/day) using Haber-Bosch process developed more than hundred years ago. A simple reaction of nitrogen and hydrogen (produced by steam methane reforming or coal gasification) consumes about 2% of world energy, in part due to the use of high pressure and temperature. With the global transition from fossil fuels to intermittent renewable energy sources there is a need for long term storage and long range transmission of energy, for which ammonia is perfect fit. To make it practical,…

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Delivering Clean Hydrogen Fuel from Ammonia Using Metal Membranes

The use of ammonia (NH3) as a hydrogen vector can potentially enable renewable energy export from Australia to markets in Asia and Europe. With a higher hydrogen density than liquid H2, plus existing production and transport infrastructure, and well-developed safety practices and standards, the financial and regulatory barriers to this industry are lower than for liquid H2 transport. The only significant technical barrier which remains, however, is the efficient utilisation of ammonia fuel at or near the point of use, either directly or through the production of H2. For H2 production from NH3, the purity of the product H2 is…

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NH3: The Optimal Alternative Fuel

Unlike some technology areas where “all of the above” has significant advantages, there are tremendous advantages associated with choosing a single, optimized, liquid transportation fuel. The cost, efficiency and environmental benefits associated with choosing an optimized liquid transportation fuel are enormous and merit serious consideration. NH3 most closely meets the criteria for an ideal liquid transportation fuel. It is the most efficient and cost-effective means of delivering hydrogen and has an extensive world-wide delivery system already in place. Using currently available catalytic controls, NH3 emissions can be even cleaner than hydrogen engine emissions. While NH3 can effectively be produced using…

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The Role of “Green” Ammonia in Decarbonising Energy Systems: Practical Demonstration and Economic Considerations

Ammonia has the potential to contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of energy systems, by offering a practical, carbon-free hydrogen storage and transportation vector as well as a green fuel in its own right. To better understand the prospects and challenges surrounding the use of ammonia in energy systems, Siemens is leading a collaborative project to build and test an ammonia-based energy storage system at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK. Together with its project partners (the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, the University of Oxford and the University of Cardiff), and supported by Innovate UK, Siemens will demonstrate…

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Ammonia Renewable Energy Fuel Systems at Continental Scale

We must soon “run the world on renewables” but cannot, and should not try to, accomplish this entirely with electricity transmission. New, abundant, low-cost, unconventional natural gas supplies are finite; burning adds CO2 to Earth’s atmosphere. Humanity’s goal must be nothing less than: Transforming the world’s largest industry from ~80% fossil to ~100% renewable, CO2-emission-free energy sources as quickly as we prudently and profitably can. We should now carefully consider using pipeline networks, rather than the electricity grid, for solving the three salient technical problems of renewable energy (RE) at lower cost: Transmission: from diverse, stranded, remote, rich RE resources…