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World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • Oct 17, 2020
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Ammonia and hydrogen

Both hydrogen and ammonia can be entirely emission-free fuels. The way they are produced determines their total carbon footprint. The two fuels are related, as ammonia is hydrogen in a chemically bound form.

If you would like to keep up to date with developments from this burgeoning industry join the Ammonia and Hydrogen https://lnkd.in/dTvRsB9 professional group

 

 

 

 

 

26 November

 

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Roger Arnold's picture
Roger Arnold on Oct 19, 2020

I've made this point before; at the risk of sounding like a broken record, ammonia is great if what you need is a clean fuel that can be stored indefinitely and then used as needed. But it's energy efficiency is about four times worse than Li-ion batteries. It takes about four times as much electrical energy in to get the same electrical energy out. That's offset by the fact that a load of ammonia that will deliver 100 megawatt-hours is an order of magnitude less weight than the same capacity of Li-batteries.

Bottom line: if you need to go farther than a reasonable load of batteries can take you and it's necessary to go the full distance on a single fuel load, then ammonia is a good solution. But if you can accommodate swapping battery packs enroute, batteries will be far more economical.

It's worth thinking about.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Oct 19, 2020

Bottom line: if you need to go farther than a reasonable load of batteries can take you and it's necessary to go the full distance on a single fuel load, then ammonia is a good solution. But if you can accommodate swapping battery packs enroute, batteries will be far more economical.

Interesting way to put it, Roger. Can you share perhaps an example of a 'full distance on a single load' application vs. a battery swapping one? It sounds like both could have their fair use cases and so there's value in developing both?

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 19, 2020

Matt, years ago nearly $1 billion from HSBC Group, Morgan Stanley, General Electric, and Vantage Point Capital Partners was invested in a battery-swapping EV startup called Better Place. It was a dismal failure, and for reasons that had nothing to do with technology.

Better Place: What Went Wrong With the Electric Car Startup?

 

Roger Arnold's picture
Roger Arnold on Oct 21, 2020

The two "obvious" examples are trans-oceanic shipping and air travel beyond short hop feeder lines.

I put "obvious" in quotes because even for those two applications, there are what I think are credible ways to make batteries work. I may write something about that in the future.

Charley Rattan's picture
Charley Rattan on Oct 19, 2020

There's more - much more to a business case than efficiency 

Roger Arnold's picture
Roger Arnold on Oct 21, 2020

Indeed. As I said, ammonia is great when ease of storage and high energy density are the primary criteria. But a 4:1 efficiency difference with respect to batteries is not a minor consideration. It's something that many advocates for ammonia as an energy carrier tend to overlook.

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