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John Armstrong's picture
Chief Operating Officer, BPA

John Armstrong is an engineer whose career has spanned the extremes of the energy industry – giving him a front-row seat on the energy roller-coaster. He began his career constructing oil...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Nov 6, 2020

Great to see some coverage of Ammonia in mainstream media. The article includes a useful diagram showing energy density of different fuels and a potential way of making green ammonia. The author also makes it clear that currently Ammonia is pretty dirty (1.8% of global CO2 emissions) and that something would need to be done to address that!

I wrote a blog on this very topic a few months ago as well as talking on the energy central podcast :

Blog: Could Ammonia be the clean fuel of the future?
Energy Central Podcast: Can Green Hydrigen Lead us to Green Ammonia?

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Nov 6, 2020

That 1.8% number is pretty concerning, especially because the use of ammonia as a fuel would presumably result in a massive growth in its production and see those emissions grow with it. That makes the timing challenging-- do you try to build up end uses of ammonia fuel now before it's been sufficiently decarbonized and result in an increase in transportation emissions, or do you wait until we can make it more cleanly and then start to build out the fleet that can then use it? 

John Armstrong's picture
John Armstrong on Nov 6, 2020

Its a great question Matt... and impacts HJydrogen as well. Do we focus on decarbonising what we make now first before getting too excitied about end uses? I do think we should be careful... its very easy just to look at the end use of energy and not appreciate the whole supply chain.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 8, 2020

John, powering shipping with ammonia is a non-starter:

"NH3 is the principal form of toxic ammonia. It has been reported toxic to freshwater organisms at concentrations ranging from 0.53 to 22.8 mg/L. Toxic levels are both pH and temperature dependent. Toxicity increases as pH increases and as temperature increases. Plants are more tolerant of ammonia than animals, and invertebrates are more tolerant than fish. Hatching and growth rates of fishes may be affected. In the structural development, changes in tissues of gills, liver, and kidneys may also occur. Toxic concentrations of ammonia in humans may cause loss of equilibrium, convulsions, coma, and death."


John Armstrong's picture
Thank John for the Post!
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