Eric Parker, Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office: Hello, everyone, and welcome to May's H2IQ Hour, part of our ongoing monthly education webinar series that highlights research and development activities funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, or HFTO, within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. My name is Eric Parker, and I'm the HFTO webinar lead. As always, we'll be announcing more topics like these soon, as well. So, stay tuned for that. Go to the next slide.
This WebEx call is being recorded and will be posted on DOE's website and used internally. All attendees will also be on mute throughout the webinar. So, please, submit questions as you think of them in the Q&A panel. You can see that sample on the slide here. Not the chat panel, but the Q&A panel in the bottom right of your WebEx. We'll cover those questions during the Q&A portion at the end of the presentation. With that, we have a very special presentation for you today. There's been a lot of interest in this topic. To help me introduce that and today's speaker, we're joined by DOE host, Eric Miller. Thanks, Eric.
Eric Miller, Department of Energy: Thanks, Eric. Good day to all. Thanks for the slide. There's been a lot of recent press about the importance of clean hydrogen that is produced from the resources as an enabler for key economic and environmental priorities. This is illustrated in the now famous H2@Scale bubble chart that we're seeing in this slide, that highlights hydrogen's relevance across multiple sectors, especially those that would be difficult to de-carbonize without clean forms of hydrogen. These include industrial processes and chemical synthesis. As a specific example, ammonia has a global annual usage of about $250 million tons just for agricultural applications alone. But there are certain expansion opportunities in other markets that you'll be hearing about during Grigorii's talk today.
So, speaking of Grigorii, we are very fortunate to have him with us here today. Grigorii Soloveichik is a world-renowned expert in electrochemical and chemical energy storage and conversion technologies, who currently serves in a dual role at the Department of Energy as a program director at ARPA-E and, also, on detail as a senior advisor at EERE's HFTO. Impressively, his name appears on more than 130 peer-reviewed journal articles and more than 70 U.S. History Patents. In the context of today's webinar, he is particularly well-known for the creation of RPE's refuel programs that target production and scaling up of ammonia and other carbon-neutral fuels from renewable sources and their use for energy storage and transportation. With that, I will turn it over to Grigorii.
Grigorii Soloveichik, ARPA-E Program Director: Oh, thanks a lot for introduction, Eric. So, today, I will talk about more how we can move to the compound from fertilizer to energy, to be an energy lecture. In this slide, you can see how ammonia is produced, transported. We will talk, also, about the utilization of ammonia.
Ammonia process was invented more than 100 years ago by Fritz Haber in 1909. Then, with lightning speed, it was converted into commercial industrial process by Carl Bosch from now BASF. You can see, from the small bench tall unit there on the left side, you move to huge, basically a city where ammonia is produced by reaction of hydrogen and ammonia, hydrogen and nitrogen using air as feedstock and hydrogen goes from methane or coal or water.
If you look at Haber-Bosch process, the efficiency is not great. It's about 60 to 65, 66 percent by SMR. Even lower if you use electrolytic hydrogen. In any case, from this first plant in Oppau with production rate of 9,000 tons a year, now 100x more production more in plant. Right here, you can see BASF plant in the same place as the first plant was located. We need some improvement in efficiency and here you can see how from original it can go huge amount of natural gas gets consumed for _____ and for feedstock. Also, I have to say that this process became economical only if you have gigantic plant size. So, it costs like billions of dollars and takes several years to build for single plant. Not any entity can afford this.
Of course, ammonia production is a greater indicator for CO2. Currently, it's about 1.5 percent of global CO2 emissions with an average of 2.8 tons of CO2 per ton of produced ammonia. In the best-case scenario with the natural gas plant, it's 1.6 tons. But still, if you reduce the start amount from 2 to 1.6, we will still have more than 1 percent of global carbon emissions.
Ammonia production is growing. So, on this picture, you can see it was steady growth. Growth was just because we needed fertilizer. We need to feed the world. A lot, about 85 percent of ammonia actually goes to production of end-user's fertilizer. This ammonia plant produces about 2,000 metric tons per day. A modern plant actually goes up to 3,000 tons per day. It's equivalent about 1 gigawatt of energy consumed. Projected growth for this, it's about 2 to 3.5 percent of annual growth, which, actually, right now, would be about 230 million tons annual.
I already mentioned that ammonia is produced on a gigantic scale. This scale is not so the Gulf War renewables duration scale. It's about ten times, at least, more than the emerged size of solar or wind farm. As I mentioned, about 85 percent of ammonia is used as fertilizer or fertilizer feedstock from _____ to produce uranium. The other application includes chemical feedstock, refrigeration, and explosives. Only because of synthetic ammonia, availability humankind is surviving and growing. By several estimation about from 70 to 80 percent nitrogen in all our bodies has been through Haber process. Usually, as fertilizer, ammonia is used in two ways, as urea or anhydrous. So, when it's basically injected into several units you have this type of characteristic that you can see here. This amazing story of ammonia is described in a brilliant book by Thomas Hager, The Alchemy of Air. I recommend you for very good to read.
So, let's think, it can be ammonia be used as energy vector. Just general requirements for energy vector in global scale, it should of course zero or low carbon emissions in life cycle. It should be produced as a scale of a million tons a year. Feedstock should be widely available. It should be international commodity, or it should be freely traded between nations. It should be easily stored. It should have a developed infrastructure. Of course, as energy vector, it should be used in a variety of applications like in the transportation of fuel, electricity generation, and heating. Energy cost should be competitive with fossil fuels, otherwise there will probably never help or advise the implementation of such an energy vector.
Okay, is ammonia fit the description? You can see, yes, it is. First, it's a truly zero-carbon fuel. It doesn't emit carbon when it's burned or oxidized. Of course, in the life cycle, it's a different story, and we'll talk more about that. It's energy dense in the liquid form. It has more than 4-kilowatt hour per liter and more than 5-kilowatt hour per kilogram. More than 17 percent of hydrogen and more than 121-kilogram hydrogen per cubic meter. The world production goes from 180 to 200 million tons per year, which is roughly equivalent to a million-gigawatt hours in energy, in primary energy. It can be stored indefinitely in the liquid form at 10 bar or at minus 33 C at any impression. It has well-developed infrastructure. I'll talk about that. It can be utilized with multiple ways or converted to electricity, converted to motive power, and as a hydrogen carrier. Yes, ammonia is toxic, and we all know about that, but despite of that, it has excellent safety record. There are few fatalities and much less from fires from fossil fuel.
If you look at the comparison of other low-carbon fuels, you can see that ammonia is kind of in between, between hydrocarbon fuels and hydrogen energy dense, and also in between hydrogen and liquified methane in boiling point. Feedstock availability is very high. It's down to eight percent in the air. Production efficiency could be higher, of course. More important, the storage cost and delivery cost is kind of higher than fossil fuels, but actually is pretty good. It can be transported by all means and can be used by all means or the current energy carriers.
The production cost of ammonia, as analyzed in the paper of paper here, you can see that it's kind of both competitive to other renewable fuels like renewable methane or methanol. Of course, at very low cost of CO2 as a feedstock. This were the cost of each of those up with the cost of production of carbon-based fuel goes up as well. Of course, ammonia is more expensive than hydrogen because it's produced from hydrogen. So, we'll never have ammonia cost below the hydrogen cost. If you look at a comparison, ammonia as energy looks at is hydrogen. Of course, it's just complement the hydrogen, but don't try to be replacement for the hydrogen. In this case, ammonia could be as close to hydrogen in production cost, but when you add the cost of transportation and conversion, now we have certain benefits compared to hydrogen because of higher energy density of ammonia.
So, what are drivers for zero-carbon ammonia? Of course, we need to decarbonize the fertilizer production. Set at more than 1.4 percent of global CO2 emissions and we can be eliminate it if we convert it to zero-carbon ammonia. Decarbonization of transportation fuels and maritime shipping present probably the greatest opportunity of all or and maritime community are extremely kind of zero own ammonia as one of the best options for decarbonization of industry. Of course, it could be also used for hydrogen generation from ammonia and enable remote hydrogen fuel cell and it could be called fueling stations.
Energy delivery, we need to have least expensive way for long distance energy delivery. For example, from Japan to – from _____ to Japan or from Saudi Arabia to Japan or from Morocco to Europe. We need long duration energy storage, which will offset the intermittency of renewable energy sources and utilize the unused generating capacity. We have industrial courses which very hard to decarbonize like steel, cement, or grain dry, which can be using ammonia as well. Of course, falling renewable electricity price makes zero-carbon ammonia cost competitive with numbers. We'll talk more about that.
What are benefits of using low-carbon ammonia? First, a low carbon footprint for agriculture, transportation, and industrial sectors. Use of renewable hydrogen will enable more than 80 percent in life cycle emissions are relative to even the best conventional Haber-Bosch process using natural SMR. It could effectively utilize surplus of renewable energy sources which actually is pretty high right now. It probably will be growing over the time. And will enable long-term energy story, which also is projected to grow with, by CAGR, more than 30 percent.
Okay, before, we will talk more about low-carbon ammonia. You probably heard a lot for green ammonia, blue ammonia, turquoise ammonia. So, as this came, you can see water is basically meant here. So, green ammonia, we will use renewable electricity and water is the only sources for hydrogen. For the green ammonia, we will use natural gas and steam methane reforming with CO2 capture. There is also two cause ammonia when the natural gas is tracked to hydrogen and carbon is stored or used as material. After that, of course, hydrogen can be entered into Haber-Bosch process, separated, and get the ammonia product. Of course, the different advantages, use advantages of other trials. For example, advantages of green ammonia, it's a true zero-carbon, no need in CO2 storage or transportation, no CO2 leaks, and no long-term liability with still to storage. While blue ammonia can be abundant and cheap feedstock. Right now, it's much cheaper to produce hydrogen from SMR than by electrolysis. SMR technology is pretty well established and deployed. So, that too. Turquoise ammonia, it's kind of in infancy. Definitely doubt you need to have more CO2 storage and capture, but the problem is that the technology is to be developed.
Okay, let's talk about ammonia production. So, as I already told you from the first ammonia plant, we go to the big ammonia plant. But now we have to step back, talking about green or blue ammonia. We need to illustrate how this electrolysis process of carbon capture can be integrated into ammonia plant. So, you can see that, for example, cement started with a 10 metric tons per year demonstration project. Proton Venture in the Netherlands plans to do up to 20,000 tons a year demonstration project. But what it means that with the scale of renewables, we probably can get much better feet if you'll use, say, green hydrogen to produce ammonia. We can use from small farmer based several wind turbines or solar farm to the bigger industrial scale, green scale solar and the wind farms.
Ammonia is easy to transport. It could be transported by a truck, by rail car, or by barge, and most efficiently, with pipeline. I should say the U.S. have the best ammonia pipeline in the world. This is a map of the current ammonia pipeline from Gulf Coast to mid-Atlantic.
Ammonia stores energy in a pretty dense form. For example, if you look at there is a 30,000-gallon underground tank, it contains the same amount of energy as 6 hydrogen storage or 40 battery storage facilities, which actually kind of great right now. Ammonia can be stored either in pressurized – liquid under pressure in these underground tanks or above-ground tanks, or it could be stored in the cryogenic form at more than minus 30 C in these big tanks, which can contain up to 100,000 megawatt hours of primary energy.
Okay. So, ammonia can be used in many different ways from the traditional fertilizer to heating in the grain silos or in the burners. There it can be converted into _____ steel with the fuel cells or in genset in generators. It can generate hydrogen for fuel cells or eagle star. It could fuel the container ships or drones or other aircraft. So, it's multiple use.
It's what was used as energy carrier even in 1933. In the first example, you can see the multiple examples here. Ammonia was used to power actually the best aircraft of that time, the X-15. It's used as fuel for cars and for genset.
To use ammonia in the different energy applications, we can use ammonia in the pure form. It could be blended with hydrocarbon fuels and it could be actually cracked up to 100 percent hydrogen and used, for example, in PEM fuel cells. While SOCS could be using 100 percent ammonia. Of course, the different applications can be used in different methods to convert ammonia into energy.
So the current status of ammonia is the fuel, there are two major marine engine companies like to advance. They are working on the adjustment of the current 4- or 2-stroke engines to be fueled by ammonia. The Mitsubishi Power developed a 40-megawatt class ammonia and gas turbine and IHI developed a co-firing turbine. They are kind of in the development stage, but already kind of being tested. It could be used in this John Deere tractor which was powered in Morris, Minnesota. They developed this internal combustion engine for the chocks.
If you look at the market potential, it's actually great. Current market size, it's about more than 70 billion and should grow to more than 80 just for fertilizers. Current ammonia production is predicted to be replaced with the green and blue ammonia, in this picture on the right, say by about 2030. Then it will be maybe more advanced direct ammonia production by electrolysis from nitrogen and water. If we will use maritime as a fuel for – ammonia as a maritime fuel, it should basically triple current ammonia production by 2050. So, it can be measured from, say, 200 that we have to produce 600 million tons a year. So, we have to basically build the capacity and infrastructure to deliver this amount of energy carrier. If you will use ammonia for long-term energy storage and hydrogen delivery, it will be multiplied number even further.
Okay. What we have to do to make it real. We have some research leads and basically, we need to decrease the CAPEX and increase energy efficiency. There are several focuses. A research focus, when we talk about the synthesis, how we can delivery catalysts which work at lower pressure and temperature, develop direct synthetic methods, develop a new method for ammonia separation instead the nuclear option. We need to look at utilization and how we develop fuel cells, how we develop the low temperature in effect cracking of ammonia to hydrogen, and how we will deliver low NOx combustion. There are development focuses, which I'm sure we'll look at. Heat integration of all process steps and because we are going to use renewable energy, we need to develop algorithms for transient operation. Deployment focus are in demonstration of whole system in the field and scaling up from several kilos a day to tons a day.
Because of that, ARPA-E developed a program named REFUEL< Renewable Energy to Fuels through Utilization of Energy-dense Liquids. The mission was to reduce transportation and storage costs of energy using the energy dense fuels and also use these fuels to convert it back to _____ times at the end point. The total investment was about 36 million. We have two areas; one about synthesis of liquid carriers and mostly about ammonia, of course. But we also had methanal and _____ production as well. The second area was electrochemical process for generation of hydrogen or electricity from those fuels. We had certain metrics which I showed here. But per ton or we'll talk more about that. But what I'm saying, the cost of this primary energy or delivered energy would be competitive with the current fossil fuels in several locations already.
Category one matrix, so we looked at hydrogenation catalyst. The physical effects are plasma, or some adoption effects. There is a lot of teams, leaders of our teams. Electrochemical processes were – we were trying to use the PEM fuel cell and AEM fuel cell, both low temperature and high temperature. I should say that electrochemical processes were – even though we made great progress in their rate and sensitivity, they're still far away from industrial application. So, while the process is often for Haber-Bosch through electric design or _____ shift, actually they show great promise. Oh sorry.
This is the final demonstration of the project found the deliverables of several projects led by RTI and Starfire Energy and University of Minnesota when they divert integrated systems from 1 kilo a day to 10 kilos a day and capable to work in pressures from 30 to 100 bar in different temperatures. All of them actually met their project targets and delivered a very nice, inspectable performance.
Instead, it would be very nice to have more the process which will be very suitable for intermittent nature of energy sources. So, I would like to highlight two processes; one led by FuelCell Energy in mines, when they developed basically condemnation of electrolyzer and chemical reactor in the same unit and showed that this device can be working as a reversible fuel cell either produce ammonia or kind of consume ammonia and generate here. Microwave catalytic synthesis of ammonia also showed that the synthesis can be stopped and restarted in a second. This magnetron should be scaled up. The University of West Virginia is working on that.
Talking about the portfolio for my category two. We looked at the cracking and electrochemical methods to break ammonia to hydrogen and, also, to convert ammonia to electricity using PEM fuel cell, high temperature PEM fuel cell, low temperature AEM and SOFCs. The hydrogen generation, actually, we, again, met all this target, technical targets for this and develop a different unit. So, using the stack which can deliver hydrogen at 30 bar from ammonia, 8 bar ammonia, both the compression of ammonia and pressurization. In two approaches of a membrane reactor, when we used the membrane, methanol-based membrane, or zealot-based membrane. We should also deliver at high conversion and very nice selectivity.
For this fuel cell project we're talking about, it's solar fuel cells, this is early cell developed by fuel cell energy. Now we're scaling up this technology to more commercial _____ format. Chemtronergy developed another type of sort of a problem conductor or this oxide conductor, which also showed recognized stability. Interesting concept was developed by Giner when they used metal hydroxide impregnates ceramic membrane. It showed that there very promising performance on this fuel cell. I also should mention the unit deliver when they used AEM fuel cell actually shows the power pretty similar to what regular showed.
Okay, as a result of REFUEL _____ we develop – we called it REFUEL taught by IT Integration and Testing program, which would leverage the success of the several REFUEL projects in ammonia synthesis and isolation. It will utilize renewable power. We target this as demonstration for mostly agriculture and energy storage. The target scale of this program would be deliver one ton a day in motorized containerized plant, using about 500 kilowatt of renewables and estimate the cost of the project will be 15 million. So, we have already selected the winner of this program. It's a team led by RTI, which includes the developers, technologists, University of Minnesota, Casale, NEL, an electrolyzer developer, and also the part of the team which will look at different _____ of ammonia like GE Research and Chemtronergy.
Let me just tell you that what we are doing is aligned with what the world is doing here. World attitude shifted to low carbon ammonia generation here _____. When I started the fuel program, it was really fuel enthusiasts in this area, I would say. But now, many countries and companies started feasibility studies. Kind of not the full list. It's here. It's in Japan, which officially added ammonia to technology roadmap, energy technology roadmap. The Netherlands, U.K., U.S. In the U.S., KBR and EPRI did two separate studies of feasibility. Australia and European Union, which actually formed a research consortium of 11 partners to do that. So, this is kind of a snapshot of different reports in this area.
If you look at the major ammonia producers, they're almost all of them – like Casale, CF Industries, Haldor Topsoe, KBR, Nutrien, Thyssenkrupp, and Yara help green or blue or both ammonia _____ on the roadmap. So, they plan to start some production demonstration and I’ll talk about that on the next slide. But I just like to mention that we had at the HFTO we had the kind of serious webinars in the beginning of May. Almost all of these major producers actually presented the company roadmap and view on the low-carbon ammonia.
So, green and blue ammonia demonstration projects. These types are from very small 20 kilograms a day green ammonia demonstration, Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute. But many are in the plant. Haldor Topsoe, Yara and ENGIE, Yara and Ørsted, CF Industries, KBR, Monolith Materials. Recently Saudi Arabia added to the play with two projects, one of blue ammonia and actually already working and they send the first shipment to Japan. Also, they added the green ammonia into this map.
Okay, so just to summarize my presentation. This is – ammonia is a great energy vector because, first, it's truly a zero-carbon and energy dense fuel. It's more than 70 percent of energy dense than liquid hydrogen. It's a global commodity, again, about 200 million ton a year, already produced. It has established delivery infrastructure both inside the concrete and between the concrete. There's a fleet of ammonia-delivering ships. There are terminals in many countries. In the U.S. prior to _____ there's about probably 85 percent produced in the United States, but the rest is here or imported from different countries, mostly from the Gulf Coast. This delivery structure – least _____ _____ for delivery and storage is well-known and can be deployed at large scale pretty fast.
It has excellent safety record, but like I said, trained personnel should work with this. This is why I think if you look at ammonia as a transportation fuel, it probably could go to marine and go to rail or maybe heavy-duty vehicles, but not for the general transportation. This problem would be too risky. It has the least expensive storage and transportation costs. For example, if you look at transportation of natural gas, it's fuels are about 50 percent less of this cost. It can utilized in multiple ways of wide application. It could be used in fuel cells directly, could be used directly as a blended fuel, as fuel in turbines and different combustion engines.
I probably forgot to mention that ammonia, as a pure fuel, is not good because flame speed is low. This is why it should be either partially cracked in hydrogen where they improve the flame speed or mixed with different hydrocarbon fuels, which we've already shown to works pretty well. It has potential to reduce global CO2 emissions from fertilizers, 1.4, maybe 2 percent in the future, and far beyond if you do use it energy carrier. It could be anticipated to be cost competitive with fossil fuels by 2040s or with a drop in renewable energy prices in developing a better and less expensive methods for ammonia production.
Demo projects for green and blue ammonia companies plan – some larger producers are in the game and major shipping companies are in the game right now, like Maersk. I should say that so far, we have limited investment in R&DD and we will greatly benefit from increased investment or in this area and increasing global cooperation. I should say that ammonia will usually – or they ship European and the American ammonia conferences, and it usually has a great presence from the different countries, including Australia and Japan, European countries as well as U.S. But we need to do more.
Okay, with this, I would like to thank you. This is my email address. If I cannot answer your questions today, please contact me directly, or if you have interest or ideas, let's talk. This is my mail address. Don't be shy to contact me. Thank you.
Eric Miller: Thank you, Grigorii. Let us move into the Q&A discussion period. We've got several really good questions coming in from the audience. Several of you have touched upon, Grigorii, but I think some could merit additional elaboration. So, let's start off with a pretty high level one, just regarding the cost of ammonia as an energy storage medium. You've touched upon this, but specifically, how do you view the ammonia especially for energy storage in both cost and efficiency compared to hydrogen and lithium-ion batteries?
Grigorii: Okay. This question is great and very important question. So, talking about the cost. I'll give you the example. If you buy ammonia right now at Gulf cost, it will cost probably about $250 a ton. The fuel target in dollars per kilowatt hour, six cents per kilowatt hour, is equivalent to about 650 dollars per ton, roughly. Okay? So, which means there is probably not competitive. But if you'd like to go and buy ammonia in Midwest, it now costs $700 per ton. Okay?
With this cost, projected cost of for fuel, was calculated seven _____ the cost of five cents per kilowatt hour. But now we're talking about going to about two cents per kilowatt hour, which means the new ammonia cost will go probably down $300.00 per ton. It's still higher than the conventional ammonia, but we think that the cost of ammonia will probably go down for green ammonia but will probably stay the same for blue ammonia and different there. With a carbon capture, we maybe anticipate it will be probably $250.00 per ton of ammonia right now.
Talking about efficiency, yes, you can compare that, if you are talking about they should duration energy storage, batteries are much more efficient. But if you have to store a battery, I don't know, mainly hours and days, then your cost because every ___ and ammonia energy storage or hydrogen-based energy storage. So, if you have to store and use energy carrier outside hydrogen cost is the best, but if you have to move it around and probably store for a long time, ammonia is the best.
Eric Miller: Thanks, Grigorii.
Grigorii: So, we have – oh. Sorry.
Eric Miller: No, go ahead. Keep going.
Grigorii: Basically, it's what I have to say about the cost of efficiency.
Eric Miller: Great. Yeah, thanks. Grigorii, you showed a really interesting slide on the pipeline infrastructure for ammonia. There's a question regarding what modifications might be needed to oil or natural gas pipeline infrastructure to transport ammonia, or do you see ammonia pipelines being developed more economically by themselves. So, what are your thoughts on that infrastructure for pipelines for ammonia?
Grigorii: Okay, I think that the major problem would be in the belts and pumps because ammonia is corrosive, and ammonia cannot tolerate copper. So, all copper parts would be replaced. But otherwise, modifications should be minimal. The cost of an ammonia pipeline is basically the same as the cost of liquid pipeline.
Eric Miller: All right, great. Thank you. A specific question on slide 25 related to the low NOx future research. Could you elaborate a little bit more on that research that's been going on in the low NOx area?
Grigorii: On NOx area, okay. So, the major problem with ammonia combustion is the increased NOx content in ethylene gas. So, this is the major concern which people have about ammonia as a fuel. But I should say that there are different studies. Basically, ______, in Japan, they considered the turbines that are fueled by ammonia or burners fueled by ammonia is a major means to reach zero-carbon energy. So, they show that the NOx level can be reduced, first of all. Second, there is a well-known ammonia after treatment process where the ammonia is used to selectively use NOx to nitrogen. Yes, it's cost but basically, aside from cost – the problem is salt. If we can develop a process when the burner won't deliver NOx that the level of which we can accept, then it will be great. I see that one of our performers show that there are some conditions where the NOx level would be all the same as burning of natural gas. So, it's possible.
Eric Miller: Great. Thanks. I'm keeping moving here. We've got quite a number of questions. As Eric, mentioned, that we'll keep track of these and, if necessary, address them offline as needed. Back to the agriculture sector. There's a question related to the current urea market. How difficult would it be to transition the current urea market to a non-carbon containing form of green ammonia or I guess green or blue?
Grigorii: Okay. This is a hard question. For example, in the United States anhydrous ammonia is used widely as a fertilizer. But in many countries, they used urea instead. The conversion of urea plant from a green ammonia to blue ammonia will definitely reduce the carbon footprint. But on the other side, the CO2 is necessary to produce urea. So, probably some plants will capture just a part of CO2. I mean blue ammonia plant, and just produce urea. But I think the major prospective for ammonia is not agriculture. It's energy. So, in this case, it's at if you just don't use it as many times, it will be double of the production or just for this purpose. So, much better prospective for that.
Eric Miller: All right. Thanks, Grigorii. We'll come back to that in a couple of questions. We've got several relating specifically to those markets. Before that, there's a question on the state of the art and ammonia cracking technologies for producing 100 percent hydrogen. Could you comment on that?
Grigorii: Sure. This technology was pioneered by _____ in Australia. They use palladium-based membrane to separate ammonia from hydrogen. As you all know, we need to have let 100 PVB of ammonia in hydrogen that should work with PEM fuel cells. So, we developed several – I kind of highlight that these forces, all of them are actually deliver hydrogen with ammonia below the spec limit. They use different technologies for that. It should be seen at which to go, eventually, it will get leaner. But the most important, actually, to deliver is the cracking in that lower temperature, as low as possible. So, we're now working at 450 for thermal cracking or in much for 250 for the chemical cracking. If we can reduce it even lower, it would be on better.
Eric Miller: Great. I'm going to [inaudible] as needed. Related to market and aviation and maritime. I know there's been a lot of talk in maritime with the IMO 2020 Standard for potential competitors to the current bumper fuels and ammonia being one of the candidates. You showed a picture of an aviation application for ammonia. How important do you see these potential markets and, in each one of those, do you see this as a cracking to hydrogen? What is the PEM-version technology that you think will be necessary in those two transportation spaces?
Grigorii: I think that for maritime, they will use probably partial cracking. So, they will use cracking of sleet stream of ammonia to deliver it as a mixture of hydrogen and ammonia into cylinders. Talking about aviation, there is couple of good opportunities for drones when the ammonia could be delivered in the cartridges, which can be easily replaced and will provide the long duration of flight. For bigger aviation, it could be probably a problem because of toxicity. I think that could be a problem. So, we did fund the one project in my reach program when ammonia is used as fuel or for aviation. Additional benefits of using liquid ammonia as a fuel would be they use it as a cooling agent for motors and cables and electronics. So, it could be used there, but again, probably not for the passenger aviation. Just my [inaudible]
Eric Miller: Great. Yeah. That's a great point.
Grigorii: Another point would be a rail. An opportunity would be a rail.
Eric Miller: Oh, right. Very good. Yeah. Now, I'm going to get into two very technical, specific questions, and I'm going to broaden it out because there's some very high-level ones that maybe we'll end up on. In terms of specific technical questions, you showed a liquid ammonia or even without liquification, liquefaction, ammonia needs to be chilled and pressurized to move. Well, yeah. So, how large do you estimate the parasitic energy losses of this during transport?
Grigorii: Sorry. Could you repeat the question?
Eric Miller: Yeah. I do think, in the context of moving, transporting ammonia, chilled ammonia, chilled and pressurized ammonia as a liquid, what are the parasitic energy losses in that process?
Grigorii: Oh, energy losses, okay. So, because liquefaction is very easier and so it doesn't require high pressure or low temperature, the energy is about five percent, five to ten percent of energy for this liquefaction compression.
Eric Miller: All right.
Grigorii: So, it's basically much less than liquefaction of natural gas or hydrogen.
Eric Miller: Got it. Here's an interesting question related to specific end uses in hydrogen fuel cells regarding the fact that small contaminates of many things including PPV of ammonia in the hydrogen stream can destroy components of a PEM fuel cell. Are PPV levels feasible if you're using ammonia as a carrier for the hydrogen?
Grigorii: Yes. For example, in an electrochemical compression project, they hardly can detect ammonia as well as with our intel our project, they are basically as a 11–10 PPV but they're basically – it's the limit of detection. So, they cannot see it at all.
Eric Miller: Okay. So, basically, it's a purification prior to use? Is that the solution?
Grigorii: In these two projects, the purification is combined with cracking. In another technology, we have cracking kind of very – preliminary purification and final purification. So, there are two purification stages. But they all work.
Eric Miller: So, here's a question that you touched upon. I think it really does open up a lot of very important concepts. I'll read the whole out because it really does bring together a lot of the priorities that you touched upon, have you studied how much renewables you would have to deploy to generate the world's ammonia needs? It seems difficult to pair renewable hydrogen with the Haber-Bosch process. Has there been thought into how best to pair renewables with Haber-Bosch? I'm guessing we're talking about scale. If you scale it down, does the economics still work? So, I think you talked of the scalability of the option for clean hydrogen coupled with Haber-Bosch at kind of a near-term. An important option. Could you spend a little time on the relative capacities and volumes matching outdoor renewable resources to make the types of differences that will be needed?
Grigorii: Okay. When we looked at this, we basically developed the matrix for 150-megawatt energy by renewable, which is average size of wind farm here in the United States. This would be producing like same – producer several hundred tons a year, which is reasonably small by ammonia kind of scale. We need to look at a much bigger scale. For example, Australia is looking at 100X this scale by combining several, over hundred such wind farms and solar farms in a single kind of source. Yeah, this is very interesting question. So, I think that we'll probably work in two directions. In one sense, we will try to develop a huge ammonia production for maritime or energy liberated like Japan or, second would be kind of we will develop much small-scale modular plans for agriculture, energy storage for rural communities. When we'll talk probably about like 50 tons a day production scale. Yeah, this is –
Eric Miller: All right. Thanks for very – yeah. Go ahead. All right, related to that, when we talk about scalability of the different pathways and different options, there's a specific question here when we're looking at probably in the context of scalability, process intensification. We're looking at research and innovation.
Grigorii: So, Eric, I probably forgot to answer one part of the question.
Eric Miller: Okay. Go for it.
Grigorii: So, why it’s so difficult to actually just replace SMR hydrogen with green ammonia. The major problem is that the initial gases used for different purposes at ammonia plant, and you will need to replace all this process with electricity.
Eric Miller: Got it.
Grigorii: The integration test, it is hard then. This is why we need a producer actually develop a small-scale demonstration plant.
Eric Miller: Got it. That's important in the context of an actual integrated system of where all the _____ in the life cycles are really important. A somewhat related question is when we look at new technologies either improving Haber-Bosch or beyond, one of the options was looking at the low-pressure Haber-Bosch research going on. How low pressure do you see that going? How low of a pressure can be achieved in those studies?
Grigorii: I'd say it's a great technical question because if you go lower, say, for example, then 30 bar, you will have a problem with ammonia separation. Okay? This is why we think that the 30 bar will be probably – 30 to 50 bar will be the best range for operation which will combine the more energy demand for the pressurization in easy ammonia separation. So, at least now, it seems to be like a sweet spot. It could be changed with the technology development. But I don't think it should go too low.
Eric Miller: Got it. We have a couple more questions, but we're at the end of our hour. I will turn it over to Eric to finalize logistics.
Eric Parker: Yeah. Thanks, Eric, for leading that Q&A and, Grigorii, for that presentation. We obviously didn't get to all of your questions. We'll be sure to save them and reach out to Grigorii, as he mentioned, if you want to follow up. But with that, that concludes today's scheduled H2IQ hour. So, thanks, again, everyone, for joining this presentation. Thanks for our host and speaker. As a reminder, I mentioned it before, but this full webinar recording, along with the slide and transcript are going to be posted online on the HFTO website. So, please, be sure to check back soon within a week or two. We'll get those out as soon as we can. As always, be on the lookout for future topics. So, with that, I'll wish everyone a great, long weekend, and goodbye.
Grigorii: Again, thank you for attending and listening.