Green Ammonia: Valorization and Technology Growth Opportunities
Green ammonia is used to manufacture agricultural products, refrigerants, explosives, dyes, fuels, textiles, industrial chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. The growing need to decrease greenhouse gas emissions from production plants and reduce dependency on natural gas imports is driving green ammonia technology adoption among ammonia manufacturers.
Rising concerns about the environmental impact of conventional ammonia production and the implementation of zero-carbon policies by governments across the world are encouraging advancements in ammonia manufacturing from clean energy sources. The valorization of green ammonia from renewable energy sources can pave the way for the manufacture of safer agricultural products, act as an alternative to fossil fuels, and offer cleaner industrial chemical manufacturing.
Globally, about 80% of the ammonia produced is used as fertilizers for agricultural production due to ammonia's high nitrogen content. However, the conventional Haber-Bosch process of ammonia production is an energy-intensive process that releases a high amount of greenhouse gases. Owing to its zero-carbon content, green ammonia can be used to manufacture clean fertilizers and facilitate sustainable farming. The use of technology can substantially decarbonize refineries and the production of fertilizers. Green ammonia can be integrated into existing facilities involved in small-scale renewable generation for the production of urea, ammonium sulfate, ammonium phosphate, and ammonium nitrate.
Ammonia is used to produce key chemicals, including hydrazine, phenylhydrazine, hydroxylamine, aniline, formamide, sulfamic acid, and acetamide, which are used as intermediates in dyes, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles, leather, paper, and plastic. Carbon dioxide emissions from high-value chemical production are expected to exceed 230 million metric tons by 2025. The replacement of conventional fossil fuel-based ammonia with renewable-based green ammonia holds massive potential to substantially decrease carbon emissions; however, significant developments are required to scale up existing green ammonia technologies to meet the growing demand from end-use industries.
Green ammonia holds a promising application outlook as a carbon-free fuel alternative due to its high hydrogen content. Higher energy density, lower ignition temperature, and ease of storage and transport when compared to other fuels drive the adoption of new valorization technologies to convert green ammonia into fuel. The marine sector accounts for approximately 14% of nitrogen and 5% of sulfur releases from all fuel combustion sources. Increasingly stringent marine regulations to limit emissions from marine diesel engines are driving technological advancements in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, alkaline fuel cells, and solid oxide fuel cells to power marine engines.
This Frost & Sullivan research service identifies and analyzes technology advancements focused on cost-effective and highly efficient production technologies; it examines the commercialization landscape of valorization technologies, the major application markets, and the potential application landscape. The technological advancements captured are dedicated to the valorization of green ammonia from hydrogen for fertilizers, chemical intermediates, and marine fuel. The study provides insight into the key focus areas of the technologies, their challenges, and adoption strategies for better utility.
Frost & Sullivan has identified key areas of technology development for green ammonia and categorized them into different domains, as follows: 1) Production methods, including hybrid plasma electrocatalytic processes, ionic liquid-based electrolytic technologies, mobile systems for on-site production, ceramic-based button-size reverse fuel cells, the green Haber-Bosch process, photochemical green ammonia synthesis, and chemical looping 2) Valorization technologies to convert green ammonia to chemical intermediates, including the Pechiney-Ugine-Kuhlmann process, direct amination or ammonolysis, aniline oxidation, the Raschig process, the carbonylation of ammonia, sulfamation, and the dehydration of ammonium acetate 3) Valorization technologies to convert green ammonia to fuels, including thermal and catalytic methods 4) Valorization technologies to convert green ammonia to fertilizers. Ammonia manufacturers have increased R&D investments in the green Haber-Bosch process or decarbonized Haber-Bosch process. Owing to increasingly stringent regulatory guidelines, manufacturers are forming alliances with research universities to adopt sustainable production methods. Factors such as production efficiency, cost, the expansion of the renewable energy sector, and favorable government policies are driving the green ammonia technology landscape.
Key Points Discussed:
Which emerging technologies support the production of green ammonia?
What R&D efforts are being taken in terms of new production technologies for improved yield and low energy consumption?
What are the new trends in green ammonia production technologies and valorization techniques for the conversion of green ammonia to fertilizers, chemical intermediates, and fuel?
What are the growth opportunities for technology developers in the green ammonia industry?
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