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Toyota, 7-Eleven to Cooperate on Low-Carbon Convenience Stores
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Last month, one Ammonia Energy post discussed Toyota’s participation in a Low-Carbon Hydrogen Project in its home prefecture -- including implicit support for ammonia as a hydrogen carrier.  Another post discussed Japanese manufacturer IHI’s plans to commercialize a small-scale combined heat and power system (micro CHP) based on direct ammonia solid oxide fuel cell technology.  Now, according to a June 6 Toyota Motor Corporation press release, Toyota and micro CHP have converged. The announcement served as the unveiling of a “joint project” by Toyota and the convenience store chain 7-Eleven to develop “next-generation convenience stores aiming to considerably reduce CO2 emissions.”  The two companies initially agreed to cooperate in August 2017 on "considerations toward energy conservation and carbon dioxide emission reduction in store distribution and operation.”

Battolyser Attracts Grant Funding, Corporate Support
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The kernel of the story is this: Battolyser B.V. is taking a step forward with the battolyser, its eponymous energy storage technology.  On June 12, Battolyser’s joint venture partners Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and Proton Ventures announced that they had secured a €480,000 grant from Waddenfonds, a Dutch public-sector funding agency, to build a 15 kW/60 kWh version of the battolyser.  The installation will take place at Nuon’s Magnum generating station at Eemshaven in the Netherlands.  The move makes tangible the vision of the battolyser as an integral part of an energy supply system with a robust quota of renewably generated electricity. The battolyser is a battery that stores electricity in the conventional galvanic manner until it is fully charged.  At that point, the device uses any additional electricity supplied for the electrolysis of water and evolution of hydrogen.  If the device is integrated with hydrogen buffer storage and an ammonia production train, the result will be a versatile and highly scalable energy storage system that can provide highly responsive grid support on all time scales from seconds to months.  (Ammonia Energy last posted on the battolyser on March 1, 2018.)

A Roadmap for The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands
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A number of green ammonia projects have been announced in the Netherlands since the influential Power-to-Ammonia feasibility study was published in early 2017. Perhaps the most important publication since then, however, is the roadmap published by The Northern Netherlands Innovation Board, The Green Hydrogen Economy in the Northern Netherlands. Its scope, including sections written by consultants from ING, Rabobank, and Accenture, goes well beyond the standard techno-economic analysis and presents a cogent plan for coordinated development of "production projects, markets, infrastructure and societal issues." Green ammonia features heavily throughout the roadmap, which calls for the construction of 300,000 tons per year of renewable ammonia production in Delfzijl by 2024, as well as for large-scale imports of green ammonia, starting in 2021, which would provide low-cost delivery and storage of carbon-free fuel, cracked into hydrogen, for the Magnum power plant.

Sawafuji Moves toward Commercialization of NH3-to-H2 System
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On May 28 Sawafuji Electric Company issued a press release detailing advances made over the last year on the ammonia-to-hydrogen conversion technology it has been jointly developing with Gifu University.  The main area of progress is the rate of hydrogen generation, but the key takeaway from the announcement is that Sawafuji has set a schedule that culminates in product commercialization in 2020.

The Offshore-Wind / Ammonia Nexus
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In early April the Business Network for Offshore Wind held its 2018 International Offshore Wind Partnering Forum in Princeton, New Jersey in the U.S..  Ammonia energy was not on the agenda, at least as a matter of formal programming.  But it did come up during a panel session entitled “Offshore Wind Energy Hydrogen Production, Grid Balancing and Decarbonization.”  We know this because Steve Szymanski, Director of Business Development for Proton OnSite (a subsidiary of Norway’s Nel ASA), was on the panel and says he was the one to bring it up.  The topic attracted “a lot of interest and a lot of good questions,” Szymanski said.  Nel is an industry member of the NH3 Fuel Association.

Safety Assessments of Ammonia as a Transportation Fuel
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New data from a number of ammonia energy safety studies will be published later this year. In the meantime, two excellent reports already exist that provide comparative, quantitative risk analyses. Each compares the risks of using ammonia as a fuel in passenger vehicles against the risks of other fuels, including gasoline, LPG, CNG, methanol, and hydrogen. Both conclude that the risks associated with using ammonia as a fuel are "similar, if not lower than for the other fuels."

All together now: every major ammonia technology licensor is working on renewable ammonia
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The second annual Power to Ammonia conference, which took place earlier this month in Rotterdam, was a tremendous success. It was again hosted by Proton Ventures, the Dutch engineering firm and mini-ammonia-plant pioneer, and had roughly twice as many attendees as last year with the same extremely high quality of presentations (it is always an honor for me to speak alongside the technical wizards and economic innovators who represent the world of ammonia energy). However, for me, the most exciting part of this year's event was the fact that, for the first time at an ammonia energy conference, all four of the major ammonia technology licensors were represented. With Casale, Haldor Topsoe, ThyssenKrupp, and KBR all developing designs for integration of their ammonia synthesis technologies with renewable powered electrolyzers, green ammonia is now clearly established as a commercial prospect.

Australia's Woodside Petroleum Considers Ammonia as a Hydrogen Carrier
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At last week’s Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association Conference, Woodside Petroleum’s chief executive officer Peter Coleman spoke about the “huge” opportunity in hydrogen energy that will develop for the company over the next 10-15 years.  Coleman sees the Japanese market for hydrogen as a promising destination for Woodside’s substantial reserves of natural gas, and indicated the company is evaluating alternative methods of hydrogen transport including as liquid H2, a liquid organic hydride, and ammonia.

Carbon Capture Set to Advance in the U.S.
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The United States Congress passed a measure on February 9 that could galvanize the production of low-carbon ammonia in the U.S.  The measure, included within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, amends Section 45Q of the Internal Revenue Code, titled “Credit for Carbon Dioxide Sequestration”.  That section, originally adopted in 2008, created a framework of tax credits for carbon capture and sequestration.  45Q’s impact in the intervening years has been minimal, an outcome attributed by experts to the relatively low prices assigned to CO2 sequestration and the fact that tax credits would be allowed only for the first 75 million tonnes of sequestered CO2.  The new legislation increases the tax credit per tonne of CO2 placed in secure geological storage from $20 to $50, and for CO2 used for enhanced oil recovery from $10 to $35.  It eliminates the credits cap altogether.  With these changes, it now seems possible that low-carbon ammonia could find itself on an equal economic footing with “fossil” ammonia – and this could have consequences well beyond American agricultural markets.