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Hydrogen Stands Out in BP’s New Strategy

Last week oil major BP released its second quarter financial results – and used the occasion to share the company’s new strategy. “We aim to be a very different kind of energy company by 2030,” the company said, “as we scale up investment in low-carbon, focus our oil and gas production and make headway on reducing emissions.” “Investment in low-carbon” turns out to involve full embrace of the hydrogen paradigm circa 2020: power-to-gas; carbon capture, utilization, and storage; and the possibility of a “hydrogen export” business based on ammonia.

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Solar ammonia, available in Spain from 2021

Last week, Iberdrola and Fertiberia announced plans to start producing green ammonia for “fertilizantes libres de emisiones” (emission-free fertilizers). Iberdrola will invest EUR 150 million to build the 100 MW “Puertollano II” solar field, with a 20 MW electrolyzer bank to produce renewable hydrogen. Fertiberia will “update and modify” its existing Puertollano plant to consume this green hydrogen, reducing its natural gas use by “over 10%,” and producing green ammonia beginning in 2021.

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Wärtsilä, Repsol, and Knutsen to test ammonia four-stroke engine

This week, engine manufacturer Wärtsilä announced “the world’s first long term, full-scale, testing of ammonia as a fuel in a marine four-stroke combustion engine.” The project will begin in the first quarter of 2021, at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s testing facilities at Stord, Norway. It is supported by a NOK 20 million (USD 2 million) grant from the Norwegian Research Council.

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Project GERI: BP’s green ammonia feasibility study

This week, ARENA announced funding for the Geraldton Export-Scale Renewable Investment (GERI) Feasibility Study, led by BP Australia. While this project begins small, with a pilot-scale 20,000 ton per year green ammonia plant selling into domestic markets, it could lead to a 1,000,000 ton per year (1.5 GW capacity), export-oriented green ammonia plant.

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Flattening the climate risks curve

The COVID-19 pandemic is a human tragedy of epic proportions. It directly affects the life and livelihoods of people all around the world as an unprecedented healthcare and economic crisis. It is clear by now that COVID-19 marks an inflection point or “black swan” event in history that will have a shaping influence on society and the economy for many years to come; a post COVID-19 era will begin. In the same way that the developing renewable energy industry significantly benefited from the economic stimulus packages to address the financial crisis of 2008/2009, we now have the opportunity to kick-start the next important phase of global CO2 emissions reduction through support of the developing CO2 Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) & Clean Hydrogen Economy. Many of these clean technologies have been proven at industrial scale and implementation has started. Still, commercial projects will continue to need financial incentives for broad deployment that will enable accelerated technology maturation and reductions in project risk and cost. With the support from COVID-19 stimulus packages, the private sector will be able to execute CCUS & Clean Hydrogen projects in the near-term, secure and create jobs, grow the economy and mitigate the risk of “green swan” climate change events through significant CO2 emissions reduction.