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The Ammonia Wrap: new funding and investment for ammonia energy rolls in, next steps for Uruguay, and Sumitomo to develop a hydrogen “ecosystem” in regional Australia

Welcome to the Ammonia Wrap: a summary of all the latest announcements, news items and publications about ammonia energy. This week: new funding and investment for ammonia energy (Starfire Energy, GenCell, Syzygy Plasmonics and Hazer Group), marine engines from the "Ammoniamot" consortium, Uruguay's national hydrogen strategy takes another step, Onahama Port to investigate hydrogen & ammonia imports and Sumitomo to develop Gladstone's hydrogen "ecosystem".

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The Ammonia Wrap: Japan developments, ammonia from wastewater, Fortescue’s new carbon-neutral goal, project updates from Australia and H2Pro

Welcome to the Ammonia Wrap: a summary of all the latest announcements, news items and publications about ammonia energy. This week: new Japanese developments, new AiP for ammonia-fueled vessel, Singapore bunkering study, new ammonia from wastewater initiative, Fortescue brings carbon neutrality goals forward to 2030, Australian project updates for Hazer and H2U, and H2Pro updates from Israel.

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Japan’s Road Map for Fuel Ammonia

This month, the Japanese Ministry for Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) began promoting an updated Road Map for Fuel Ammonia, focused on the use of ammonia in thermal power plants and as a shipping fuel. By 2030, Japan expects to import 3 million tons of clean ammonia, with demand rising to 30 million tons by 2050. To secure these volumes, Japanese companies are now making investments up and down the supply chain. These are ambitious numbers, matching Japan’s recent commitment to reach net-zero emissions, but still they miss the big picture. The broader economic opportunity arrives when Japanese companies export their fuel ammonia technologies, decarbonizing coal-fired power plants across Asia, and then supply the fuel to these newly sustainable shipping and electricity sectors. By 2050, the METI Road Map expects Japanese trading companies to supply the wider region with 100 million tons per year of clean ammonia.

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Certification of low-carbon ammonia: panel wrap-up from the 2020 Ammonia Energy Conference

What are the key considerations that need to be worked through so we can design and implement a certification scheme for low-carbon ammonia that works for a diverse range of stakeholders? On November 17, 2020, the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA) hosted a panel discussion on the topic as part of the recent Ammonia Energy Conference. Not only was it valuable to find out what important players in the ammonia industry want to see in any future certification scheme, but the panel also kicked off a consultation process among AEA members. An audience of around one hundred and fifty producers, end users and researchers all gave their thoughts on what they would like to see in a future scheme, providing a terrific launching point for the AEA Certification Committee to draft, develop and debut a low-carbon ammonia certification scheme.

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Low Carbon Ammonia via Methane Pyrolysis

Splitting methane into hydrogen and carbon (methane pyrolysis) allows for the utilization of one of the largest energy reserves on our planet (natural gas) without emitting carbon dioxide, since only the hydrogen is oxidized to release energy, while the carbon is permanently sequesters as a solid product often replacing products that have their own GHG emissions. If you split biogenic methane (that produced from the anaerobic digestion of biomass), carbon dioxide is pulled out of the atmosphere resulting in a carbon negative process for making hydrogen (and in turn ammonia), and presenting a long term opportunity to begin drawing CO2…

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Low-carbon ammonia in Nebraska and the Netherlands

Last week, two new low-carbon ammonia production projects were announced, both of them large-scale and largely CO2-free. Monolith Materials announced a 275,000 ton per year “clean ammonia” plant in Nebraska, in the heart of the US cornbelt. The plant will begin construction in 2021, expanding the existing demonstration plant, using Monolith’s methane pyrolysis process powered by 100% renewable electricity. Ørsted and Yara announced their plan to produce 75,000 tons per year of “green ammonia” at Yara’s existing Sluiskil plant in the Netherlands. They intend to install a 100 MW electrolyzer, using Ørsted’s offshore wind energy, with a final investment decision expected in 2021-2022, and production beginning in 2024-2025.

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Methane splitting and turquoise ammonia

Most hydrogen today is produced from fossil fuels – steam methane reforming of natural gas, partial oxidation of coal or oil residues – and entails large CO2 emissions. This fossil hydrogen can be called “grey hydrogen”. Or sometimes, brown. The same color scheme applies to the ammonia produced from it, so we have “grey ammonia.” Or brown ammonia, your call. The exact carbon footprint depends on the fuel used and the efficiency of the facility, so you could easily identify many shades of grey. There is, however, another option to deliver clean hydrogen – and now another colour: turquoise, or green-blue (or blue-green). This is the colour of hydrogen from methane pyrolysis, a process that directly splits methane into hydrogen and solid carbon. Instead of being a waste, like CO2, that must be disposed of safely, solid carbon is potentially a resource.

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Monolith Materials: Ammonia Production from Natural Gas Using Pyrolysis

Monolith Materials was founded in 2013 with the vision of converting abundant natural gas resources into valuable products for customers around the world. We have developed a novel electric process for converting natural gas into carbon, in the form of carbon black, and hydrogen, at high yield. Our first commercial unit (15,000 T/y of carbon and 5,000 T/y of hydrogen) is fully financed and under construction. It will come online in 2019. We plan on expanding this facility by adding as many as 30 additional units over the coming years. We are actively pursuing opportunities to increase the value of…