The US Department of Energy's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA-E) is funding projects with a view to commercializing low- and zero-carbon ammonia synthesis technologies.
Grigorii Soloveichik, ARPA-E Program Director, described the aims and challenges of his agency's initiative and introduced the technologies currently in development in his keynote presentation at the recent NH3 Fuel Conference, in September 2016.
This will be a transformative year for the ammonia industry. Four world-scale ammonia plants are scheduled to begin production, as well as three smaller plants, a couple of expansions, and a "clean coal" behemoth.
If all these projects start up successfully this year, they will add more than five million tons of ammonia capacity.
The new projects scheduled for 2016 will increase North American capacity by more than a quarter - and, because only one of these projects is in Canada, will increase US capacity by more than a third.
Pallas Nitrogen announced its intention to reassemble an old ammonia loop, built in the late 1970s and last operated in 2004. The original plant had been designed to use byproduct hydrogen feedstock, and Pallas proposed to restart it at an Air Products facility, using pipeline hydrogen. However, the project became delayed and the most recent information, from 2016, was that Pallas anticipated start-up in 2017. However, it is unlikely that construction ever began.