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  • Writer's pictureGreg Stace

Power to Ammonia

An excellent article by summarising the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology article here. The articles highlight the 4 ways to make ammonia.

  • Natural gas reforming (SMR-HB) - old

  • Electric Haber-Bosch (E-HB) - old, known but rarely used

  • PEM / Battolyers (Water Electrolyser Types (Low / High Temperature) - Where much of the innovation is happening

  • SSAS: Solid State Ammonia Synthesis (High / Low Temperature) - Early stage

The key drivers being:

  • Flexibility: Can the technology be turned on and off

  • OPEX: Cost of the electrolyzers, estimated at $400/kW

  • CAPEX: Can the new technologies be rolled out at a cost reduction to SMR-HB - all signs are yes it can.

More details about each of the three business cases:

How E-HB works

Details on Flexibility:

The system flexibility, quantified as response time and load range shows that PEM, battolyser and LT SSAS based power to NH3 systems have a load range of 0 to 100% of nominal capacity and are able to ramp up from 0% to 100% in 40 minutes and turn down from 100% to 0% in 10 minutes. The total NH3 plant, including an electrolyser section and an NH3 synthesis section is limited in flexibility by the NH3 synthesis section.

In case of HT SSAS and SOEC as the choice of electrolysis, power to NH3 systems have a load range of 50% to 100% and can ramp up in 25 minutes and turn down in 13 minutes. The ramp up time is limited by the NH3 synthesis system, while the ramp down and the load range are limited by the electrolysers themselves.

Details on OPEX (Electrolyser replacement)

These vary between 60 and 65% of the electrolyser cost. The time to replacement is 80,000 hours of operation for low temperature units, i.e. the PEM and battolyser and 40,000 operating for the high temperature SSAS and SOEC. With the electrolyser costs being the cost drivers, the lifetime stack replacement costs can be as high as 39% of the initial CAPEX in some cases (500 MWe PEM and SSAS).

How each Electrolyser works

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