NH3 can assume a key role in the energy transition

First high temperature ammonia powered fuel-cell for shipping, © Eidesvik
First high temperature ammonia powered fuel-cell for shipping, © Eidesvik

The production of ammonia for the fertilizer industry is, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency), the second most important area of hydrogen utilization. We therefore presented some concrete projects for the production of green ammonia in the July 2021 issue of H2-international. But what about the user side? Up to now, ammonia has hardly played any role as an energy carrier, although it could become an important source of energy, especially in transport by ship. The compound has numerous advantages over other energy mediums. At the same time, however, there are still many technical and logistical challenges to be solved, which are being addressed by, among others, the research projects ShipFC and Campfire.

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The role of ammonia in tomorrow’s energy industry

manufacture Yara Brunsbüttel
Yara, with its production facility in Brunsbüttel, is among the world’s largest ammonia producers

While hydrogen is indeed a versatile energy carrier, the transportation of large quantities over long distances remains a challenge. One solution could be green ammonia as it can be conveyed and stored in a more manageable way than hydrogen.

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IEA Roadmap

IEA CoverOn 18 May 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) presented a special report that could help implement the path to an era of net-zero emissions in the energy sector by 2050. The path to be trodden for this is narrow, but it offers amazing benefits. The report is the world’s first comprehensive study on how the transition to a net-zero energy system by 2050 can succeed globally. According to the study, the most important measures are the rapid expansion of renewable energies and the drastic reduction of fossil energy sources.

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H2 Grid Now Cost-Effective

Robinius
Hydrogen pipeline network to supply 75 percent

The German government has set clear targets for emissions reduction, starting at minus 40 percent by 2020, 55 percent by 2030, 70 percent by 2040, and 80 to 95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. One option to meet these targets is to increase renewable use to at least 80 percent of total market size (local electricity production and imports minus exports) by 2050. Intermittent renewable sources such as PV, onshore and offshore wind power will be crucial to meet demand due to their huge potential and will dominate any future electricity market.

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