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Ammonia, Hydrogen P2X2P Demonstrations Slated for Europe

At this early point in the energy transition, many groups are formulating big-picture concepts for the design of a sustainable energy economy, and many more are developing discrete technologies that will be relevant as the transition advances. The multi-stakeholder H2020 European project known as “FLEXibilize combined cycle power plant through Power-to-X solutions using non-CONventional Fuels” (FLEXnCONFU) is coming from a different direction. Its premise is that construction of a bridge to the future should start now, and should be anchored in aspects of the current energy system that are likely to endure over the long-term.

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Tri-State announces clean energy plan, retires coal assets

Yesterday, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association launched its "transformative" Responsible Energy Plan, which will "dramatically and rapidly advance the wholesale power supply cooperative’s clean energy portfolio." Last week, the utility announced the retirement of its last coal-fired power plants in New Mexico and Colorado. These two announcements provide context for a presentation at the Ammonia Energy Conference in November 2019, entitled Market Integrated Ammonia. Its conclusion — highly relevant for a utility that is closing its coal plants and increasing renewables to 50% by 2024 — is that in a wholesale electricity market with increased volatility, renewable ammonia could be produced at the extremely low cost of $96 per tonne.

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Strategic collaboration announced between Proton Ventures and Duiker Combustion Engineers

This week, two industry members of the Ammonia Energy Association announced that they have launched a "strategic collaboration." Coming from opposite ends of the ammonia energy value chain, one specialized in production and the other in combustion, this new partnership allows the two companies to "complete the chain of using ammonia as an energy solution."

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Study Models NH3 Economics from Variable Energy Resources

Last week IEA Consultant Julien Armijo and IEA Senior Analyst Cédric Philibert submitted their study Flexible Production of Green Hydrogen and Ammonia from Variable Solar and Wind Energy:  Case Study of Chile and Argentina to the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy and concurrently posted it on ResearchGate.  The study addresses one of the key questions of the energy transition: what are the economics of producing hydrogen, or a hydrogen carrier such as ammonia, at sites with excellent renewable energy resources?  The answer, framed in terms of the cost-competitiveness in local markets of green ammonia vs. conventionally produced brown ammonia, casts an encouraging light on the eventual prospects for international trade in green ammonia as an energy commodity.

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Ammonia Covered in Forbes.com Power-to-X Review

Last week, Forbes.com published Power-To-X In The German Experience: Another In The List Of Growing Energy Transition Strategies.  The article in effect nominates ammonia as a singularly promising up-and-comer in the field of the alternative energy vectors.  Such an endorsement is heartening, but the article is notable as much for who is delivering the message – and the fact of its delivery under the Forbes masthead – as for what the message is.

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NH3 vs. MCH: Energy Efficiency of Hydrogen Carriers Compared

Volume 174 of the journal Energy, published on May 1, 2019, includes a paper by Shin’ya Obara, Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the Kitami Institute of Technology in Japan, that should be of interest to hydrogen advocates everywhere.  The paper, "Energy and exergy flows of a hydrogen supply chain with truck transportation of ammonia or methyl cyclohexane," concludes that a hydrogen supply chain based on ammonia has better energy efficiency than one based on methyl cyclohexane (MCH).

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IEA Completes Two Power-to-Ammonia Reports

The International Energy Agency has completed two reports that examine the economics of hydrogen and ammonia production based on wind and solar electricity generation.  Both reports were written by IEA Consultant Julien Armijo under the supervision of IEA Senior Analyst Cédric Philibert.  One focuses on China and formalizes the findings and conclusions that were the subject of a February 2019 Ammonia Energy post.  The other focuses on Chile and Argentina.  Both reports cast an encouraging light on the near-term cost-competitiveness of green ammonia vs. conventionally produced brown ammonia in specific national markets.

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EPRI Releases Ammonia Energy Report

Last month the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released Renewable Ammonia Generation, Transport, and Utilization in the Transportation Sector, the organization’s first public treatment of ammonia energy.  The report is positioned as a communique from the cutting edge – a “Technology Insights Brief” from EPRI’s “Innovation Scouts” – and, bracingly, manages to be both brief and comprehensive.  Within its format, it does an excellent job of conveying the positive case for ammonia energy and the R&D that will allow it to reach its potential.

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IEA Analysis: Green Chinese P2A Could Compete with Brown NH3

The IEA has developed a rigorous economic model to examine the proposition that resource intermittency can be managed by siting hydrogen facilities where variable renewable energy (VRE) resources have complementary daily and seasonal production profiles. Last month, IEA Senior Analyst Cédric Philibert shared modeling results from selected sites in China with an audience at the Energy Research Institute in Beijing.  The exercise offers a first quantitative look at two important questions.  First, what is the economic impact of "VRE stacking"?  And second, what is the relative cost position of ammonia produced via a stacking approach? 

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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.”