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Rami Reshef's picture
CEO GenCell Energy

Rami Reshef serves as the CEO of GenCell Energy, a developer of alkaline fuel cell solutions that generate clean, reliable off-grid and backup power for humanity.

  • Member since 2019
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  • Dec 16, 2020
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Happy to share this article in Forbes by Energy Central member and principal, NorthBridge Energy Partners, LLC Peter Kelly-Detwiler.

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 16, 2020

How fast might the hydrogen and ammonia transition occur?  Reshef suggested that it may happen sooner than many observers think.  “We are making our first steps in the markets, in Europe and Japan…And in 2022 we will be commercialized, and in five to seven years after that full well-to-wheel.  In the next few years we have the wheel – meaning the generation.”

Wow-- 2022 indeed is faster than I had thought. Fingers crossed the tech finds some smooth sailing to make that a reality :)

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Nathan Wilson on Dec 19, 2020

Good to hear ammonia is getting more attention as a carbon-free energy carrier.  For the future, the laws of physical allow us to create it from clean electricity for the same cost per BTU as hydrogen, but the ammonia will be much cheaper to deliver to user due to the much better energy density (liquid ammonia has triple the energy density of 5,000 psi gaseous H2).

When made from fossil fuel, it is again cheaper than hydrogen, when transportation and delivery cost are included.  And CC&S, which is already being used in some plants near oil fields which buy the CO2, can be employed at all ammonia plants, if society chooses to embrace decarbonization. (The Japanese vision, given their appetite for imported fuel, is for their suppliers to do the CC&S).

One company in the article, GenCell, reminds us that ammonia can be used to power fuel cells and is developing products to that end.  As with large grids, stand-alone off-grid systems that rely PV also need liquid fuel back, to keep the battery from becoming impractically large.

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Rami Reshef on Jan 17, 2021

Thanks for the callout Nathan, yes, we are very optimistic about the use case of hybrid renewable systems in which fuel cells charge batteries that back up intermittent solar PV and wind resources; adding electrolyzers powered by the PV to produce hydrogen (or ammonia - the ultimate hydrogen carrier) will create a clean circular energy economy systems. Community solar programs and other local associations are the prime candidates for managing these efficient hybrid microgrids, which have the added advantage of eliminating energy transmission costs. You also mentioned blue ammonia, a trend that is gaining traction as a way to derive value from oil and gas by-products without adding carbon emissions. 

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Roger Arnold on Dec 19, 2020

Being able to use low-grade waste heat from hydrogen fuel cells to drive the decomposition of ammonia is a nice feature. It boosts the efficiency -- or reduces the inefficiency -- of using ammonia as a store for hydrogen. But the gain isn't enough to offset the inefficiency of producing ammonia in the Haber-Bosch process. Until there's a breakthrough in that area the market for ammonia as fuel will be limited.

"Limited" doesn't mean non-existent. For applications where fuel cost is secondary to ease of storage and transport, ammonia to hydrogen is a great solution. Remote construction projects are a good bet, as are backup power supply to data centers and microgrids. Land transportation and short term backing power to the grid -- probably not. Batteries will own that space. Air and long distance ocean transportation are possibilities, but probably require a stiff price on carbon emissions to compete with jet fuel and LNG. 

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Rami Reshef on Jan 17, 2021

Thanks for your insights Roger; indeed our fuel cells include heat utilization units to exploit the waste heat and our technology roadmap includes green ammonia synthesis to replace the inefficient Haber-Bosch prcoess. As economy of scale grows, diminishing ammonia fuel costs will make even more uses cases relevant beyond remote electrification and backup for data centers, microgrids and other mission-critical facilities.  We envision a clean energy future in which green ammonia achieves grid parity, opening up many more potential new markets as we work to eliminate carbon emissions.

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