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Technology status: ammonia production from electrolysis-based hydrogen

Electrolysis-based ammonia production peaked worldwide around 1970, before the economies of scale and cheap gas feedstock led to its decline. With decarbonization and climate-neutral industrial processes now a critical priority, electrolysis-based ammonia production has re-emerged as a long-term solution. From a base of 10,000 tonnes per year worldwide production in 2020, as much as 100 million tonnes per year of electrolysis-based ammonia could be produced by the end of this decade, driven by a dramatic roll-out of renewable energy generation and installed electrolyzer capacity.

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Renewable ammonia & fertilizers in Sub-Saharan Africa

In our December episode of Ammonia Project Features, our three guests focused on renewable ammonia production in Sub-Saharan Africa. Allan Manhanga (Sable Chemicals) took us through the story of renewable ammonia production in Zimbabwe from 1972 to 2015, and what is needed to restart the industry there. Ralph Koekkoek (MET Development) presented a new renewable ammonia & fertilizer project underway in Kenya, with a focus on local farmers and national food security. And Marcel Jacobs (African Hydrogen Partnership) emphasized the important role of organisations in raising awareness & de-risking future projects, particularly through approaches like the proposed East African Green Hydrogen and Fertilizer Corridor.

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Gigawatt-scale renewable ammonia in Northwest Africa

In our November episode of Ammonia Project Features we explored two gigawatt-sized ammonia production projects in Northwest Africa: AMUN (Morocco) and AMAN (Mauritania). Nouri Chahid (CWP Global) presented project details, while Lloyd Pinnell (Systemiq) explored the socio-economic impacts of AMAN in Mauritania. If developed in the right way, AMAN could provide potable water, access to cheap renewable electricity, significant local employment & education opportunities, as well as the opportunity to build institutions to best manage new economic windfalls.

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Production technology updates: from mega-scale to distributed ammonia

Recently, KBR launched its Ammonia 10,000 technology for newbuild ammonia plants, tripling the largest available single train capacity to 10,000 metric tonnes per day. In our latest Technology Insights article, we explore the other pieces of the puzzle required for mega-scale ammonia, as well as some updates from the other end of the spectrum, with three distributed, small-scale ammonia synthesis systems under development in North America.

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Nuclear-powered ammonia production

The potential for nuclear-powered ammonia production is developing fast. Two seperate industrial consortia (Copenhagen Atomics, Alfa Larval & Topsoe, and KBR & Terrestrial Energy) have formed to develop thorium-fueled reactors, and hydrogen & ammonia production is a key part of their plans. Given nuclear electricity dominates France’s energy mix, a grid-connected electrolyser project at Borealis’ fertiliser production plant in Ottmarsheim, France will be one of the first examples of commercial-scale, nuclear-powered ammonia production. And, while capital costs & lead times remain significant, mass production of new technologies and research into flexible power production capabilities are emerging as key to unlocking nuclear-powered ammonia production.

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Reflections on the last meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee: the time is ripe for maritime ammonia

To develop sufficient ammonia supply to meet future maritime fuel demands, we face a herculean task. The recent meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 78) gives us an insight into the key next steps to address financial & regulatory challenges. For the first time, MEPC 78 introduced the idea of a “Zero by 2050” goal for global shipping: a steep change in ambition. The use of funds from mechanisms like carbon pricing to ensure a fair, just and equitable transition, the necessity of high-impact investment to drive the fuel transition, and the adoption of new LCA guidelines in the next twelve months were also discussed. The drive & ambition shown at MEPC 78 indicates that the time is ripe for maritime ammonia to position itself as the fuel of choice for the global shipping industry.

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AMON Maritime: Ammonia-fueled ships and networks

In our most recent episode of Maritime Ammonia Insights we introduced the Amon Maritime consortium. Amon is unique, as it builds from the ground up and shares risk to remove the chicken-and-egg dilemma faced by new maritime ammonia players. Acknowledging that external funding has been essential to reach the point where they are at today, Amon Maritime has progressed as a shipping company and ammonia bunkering network at remarkable speed. With their novel approach and impressive progress to date, there are many takeaways for the wider maritime stakeholder environment to consider. Amon’s CEO André Risholm and CCO Karl Arthur Bræin joined Conor Fürstenberg Stott to discuss the opportunities ahead.

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GCMD & DNV: Pioneering Ammonia Bunkering Safety in Singapore

Our latest episode of Maritime Ammonia Insights revealed key details about the Ammonia Bunkering Safety Study currently being undertaken in Singapore. The study is led by the Global Center for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD), with DNV acting as a consulting partner. Lau Wei Jie (GCMD) took us through the high-profile lineup of study partners, and explained how the study aims to develop an extensive technical guideline for ammonia bunkering, similar to TR 56 (which covers LNG bunkering). Dr. Imran Ibrahim (DNV Maritime Advisory), then explained the technical scope of the study, how pilot project sites will be selected, and how the study partners are using previous work from Rotterdam and Oslo to hone their approach. Our audience was eager to understand how this work in Singapore might be applied elsewhere, and keenly awaits the results, which are due for public release in February 2023.

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Unlocking CCS ammonia potential in Europe

The first episode of our new series Ammonia Project Features revealed interesting details about current and future low-carbon ammonia projects in Europe. Bjørgulf Eidesen (Horisont Energi) explained that the Barents Blue project aims to set an ambitious new standard for low-carbon ammonia production, particularly by demonstrating transparency on its CO2 footprint & other sustainability indicators. But, although Europe’s technical capacity for carbon storage is far greater than what will be required, Toby Lockwood (Clean Air Task Force) reminded us that progress is slow, with only half the capacity required by 2030 currently developed. Supporting policy, tight regulations and funding support is all required from a government level.

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Green Ammonia Volume Analysis – A Roadmap Towards 2030

Yara Clean Ammonia, together with NCE Maritime CleanTech and with analysis support from DNV, have delivered a volume analysis and roadmap for the use of renewable ammonia in the Norwegian domestic shipping sector. With the right policy levers in place, renewable ammonia can meet and reach beyond the 2030 decarbonisation targets for the Norwegian domestic fleet, reducing emissions by as much as 69%.