Electrochemical production of ammonia using renewable energy


Stakeholders from the chemical, energy and food industries find it useful to jointly further investigate the idea of ‘Electrochemical production of ammonia using renewable energy’. This was one of the outcomes of a workshop about this subject organized by ISPT.

The focus on this route has increased recently, partly due to new developments in catalysis and ion transporting membranes, on the other hand by the attention of the energy sector to ammonia as energy storage medium.

Because ammonia is a liquid at slightly reduced temperature or elevated pressure, it is relatively easy to store. It has a good heat of combustion, and can potentially be used directly as an alternative to methane. Therefore, ammonia production at the moment seems one of the most viable options for renewable energy storage and grid balancing.
At the same time within the Agro-food sector there is interest in reducing the carbon footprint; the current production of ammonia as fertilizer accounts for about 40% of the total CO2 emissions in the food chain.

The parties shared the opinion that no player will accomplish anything on this subject on their own, given the high costs, high risks and the different interests of many actors in the various chains. By combining the worlds of energy production, distribution and energy use around this theme, all the (complementary) knowledge, skills and systems are readily available to further elaborate the idea within ISPT together with the group of Prof. dr. F.M. Mulder of the TU Delft.