Can ammonia be used to make hydrogen a sustainable energy source?

Science concept. Methane or Ammonium molecules. 3D rendered illustration.

Credit: vchal / GettyImages

Work has been progressing to produce the world’s first demonstration of how ammonia can be used to make hydrogen a sustainable energy source.

The project has brought together:

  • cutting-edge catalyst technology developed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
  • engineering capability from Engie
  • green ammonia expertise from Siemens
  • market analysis from Ecuity.

The partnership secured £250,000 funding as part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) hydrogen supply competition. The partnership aims to help the UK reduce the use of carbon in the country’s energy system, in order to help achieve its net zero carbon emissions target.

The funding received from the BEIS hydrogen supply competition has allowed STFC to draw on multi-disciplinary expertise in catalysis and mechanical engineering, to design a novel and efficient ammonia cracker. This can be integrated with the green ammonia plant and used to demonstrate the production of green hydrogen from ammonia.

The project is looking at using a highly efficient and scalable cracking of ammonia, splitting it into nitrogen and hydrogen. Hydrogen can then be used as a completely carbon free and practical bulk energy source. The storage and distribution of ammonia are well-established, mature practices with well-established and mature supply chains.

Efficient and scalable ammonia cracking technology is the final link in the green hydrogen chain. Members of the partnership have already successfully built a green ammonia energy storage demonstration system at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

Last updated: 31 March 2021

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