Green Ammonia – History and future of Ammonia production.

History

The history of ammonia production can be traced back to the early 20th century when the Haber-Bosch process was invented. This process allowed for the large-scale production of ammonia, which revolutionized the fertilizer industry and enabled the production of synthetic materials.

However, the production of ammonia using the Haber-Bosch process relies heavily on fossil fuels, primarily natural gas, and is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, there has been a growing interest in producing “green ammonia” using renewable energy sources.

One of the earliest efforts to produce green ammonia was through the use of renewable hydrogen. In the 1970s, researchers in Japan and the United States began exploring the production of hydrogen through water electrolysis using electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar. This hydrogen was then used to produce green ammonia through the Haber-Bosch process.

In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on green ammonia production, driven by the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a more sustainable energy system. Some of the approaches being explored include the use of renewable hydrogen produced through water electrolysis powered by wind and solar, as well as the use of nitrogen from the air through the process of air separation.

Green ammonia is also being considered as a potential energy carrier, as it can be easily transported and stored, and has a high energy density. It can be used directly as a fuel or as a feedstock for the production of other chemicals and materials.

Overall, the history of green ammonia production is relatively recent, but there is growing interest and investment in developing this technology as a key component of a sustainable energy system.

 

Haber – Bosch Process

The Haber-Bosch process is a chemical process for the production of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen. The chemical equation for the reaction is:

N2 + 3H2 ⇌ 2NH3

In this equation, N2 represents nitrogen gas, H2 represents hydrogen gas, and NH3 represents ammonia.

The process typically begins with the production of hydrogen gas from natural gas, which is a fossil fuel. This process is called steam methane reforming and can be represented by the following equation:

CH4 + H2O ⇌ CO + 3H2

In this equation, CH4 represents methane, which is the main component of natural gas, and CO represents carbon monoxide.

The hydrogen gas produced by steam methane reforming is then combined with nitrogen gas, which is obtained from the air through the process of air separation. The reaction between hydrogen and nitrogen is highly exothermic, meaning it releases a significant amount of heat. As a result, the reaction is typically carried out at high pressure and temperature, using a catalyst to increase the reaction rate.

The catalyst used in the Haber-Bosch process is typically based on iron, with small amounts of other metals such as potassium and aluminum added to improve the efficiency of the reaction. The overall reaction can be represented by the following equation:

N2 + 3H2 ⇌ 2NH3 ΔH = -92.4 kJ/mol

In this equation, ΔH represents the heat of reaction, which is negative, indicating that the reaction is exothermic and releases heat.

The ammonia produced by the reaction can be further processed into a variety of products, including fertilizers, explosives, and plastics. The Haber-Bosch process has been instrumental in enabling the production of synthetic materials on a large scale, but it is also a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the use of fossil fuels. Therefore, there is growing interest in developing alternative methods for ammonia production that are more sustainable and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as the production of “green ammonia” using renewable energy sources.

 

Green Ammonia

There is growing interest and investment into Green Ammonia production. Scatec is a Norwegian company that has recently announced plans to develop green ammonia production facilities using renewable energy sources. The specific chemical equations for Scatec’s green ammonia production process will depend on the technology and approach used, but here’s an overview of one possible approach:

Scatec’s green ammonia production process is likely to involve the production of hydrogen gas through the process of water electrolysis, using electricity from renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power. The chemical equation for water electrolysis is:

2H2O ⇌ 2H2 + O2

In this equation, 2H2O represents two molecules of water, which are split into hydrogen gas (2H2) and oxygen gas (O2).

The hydrogen gas produced through water electrolysis can then be combined with nitrogen gas from the air to produce green ammonia through the Haber-Bosch process. The overall chemical equation for this reaction is:

N2 + 3H2 ⇌ 2NH3

In this equation, N2 represents nitrogen gas, H2 represents hydrogen gas, and NH3 represents ammonia.

The resulting green ammonia can then be used as a fertilizer or as a feedstock for the production of other chemicals and materials, without contributing to greenhouse gas emissions from the ammonia production process.

Scatec’s green ammonia production facility will use renewable energy sources, primarily wind power, to produce hydrogen through the process of electrolysis. In electrolysis, an electric current is passed through water, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen gases. The hydrogen gas produced by this process will then be combined with nitrogen from the air to produce ammonia through the Haber-Bosch process.

Scatec’s green ammonia production facility is expected to have a capacity of around 250,000 tonnes per year, making it one of the largest green ammonia production facilities in the world. The facility will be located in northern Norway, where there is abundant wind power and a significant demand for green ammonia as a fuel for ships and other heavy-duty vehicles.

The production of green ammonia using renewable energy sources has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional ammonia production methods, which rely on fossil fuels. Scatec estimates that its green ammonia production facility will save around 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year compared to traditional ammonia production methods.

In addition to producing green ammonia for use as a fuel, Scatec’s facility will also serve as a testbed for new technologies and processes related to green ammonia production. The company plans to collaborate with academic institutions and other industry partners to advance the development of green ammonia as a sustainable energy carrier.

Overall, Scatec’s green ammonia production facility represents a significant step forward in the development of sustainable energy systems, and it has the potential to serve as a model for other companies and industries looking to reduce their carbon footprint and transition to a more sustainable energy future.