Modular Ammonia Synthesis

G.G. Botte
Ohio University - Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research,
United States

Keywords: ammonia synthesis, energy storage, fertilizer production

Summary:

90% of the ammonia produced worldwide goes towards fertilizer production, while the current synthesis process (Haber-Bosch) consumes 17% of the total energy used by industrial chemical. Additional applications include metal treating, NOx control (transportation and industrial) and energy storage. Furthermore, capital and distribution costs require co-location of production facilities with natural gas sources. With global trends in increased population growth, increased urbanization and distributed renewable energy sources, modular ammonia synthesis that decreases distribution costs and energy consumption would be of value to various industries and the community. Modular electrochemical synthesis developed at Ohio University operates at an efficiency of 19% and current density of 7 mA/cm2 – the best performance at ambient conditions based on literature review. In certain cases, this prototype outperformed high temperature electrochemical synthesis as well. The technology relies on a method to improve reaction selectivity in the presence of water and innovative catalysts with affinity for ammonia.