Hybrid wind-solar could make green ammonia competitive in niche markets by 2030 – PV Magazine International

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Wind-solar hybrid power plants offer the ideal profile for reducing green ammonia costs, according to a new study from LUT University. Although natural gas may offer lower prices in this decade and the next decade, beyond 2040, ammonia generated by wind and solar could reach a price of between € 300 and € 330. the ton.

Ammonia is an industrial chemical widely used in many industries applications such as plastics, pesticides, detergents and fertilizers. About 80% of the world’s production is used for agricultural purposes to produce ammonium nitrate fertilizers, which release nitrogen, a basic nutrient for growing plants, crops and lawns. However, the production of this nitrogen and hydrogen compound with conventional energy sources results in high levels of CO2 emissions and several scientists have sought in recent years to improve. processes for manufacturing ammonia with the aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

According to a group of researchers from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, the production of green ammonia from semi-flexible plants powered by PV-wind hybrid plants can not only be a better solution in terms of greenhouse gas emissions but also final costs. “Green ammonia has the best chance of becoming the first e-fuel / e-chemistry disrupting fossil fuels, simply because of an attractive economy, â€said Christian Breyer, professor of solar economics at LUT. pv magazine. “I am not yet aware of green ammonia projects based on PV-wind hybrid plants, but I could very well imagine that such projects could be announced soon in Spain, Morocco or Australia, finally in regions with excellent conditions of wind and solar resources.

Scientists investigated the potential of this configuration in the article “Global potential of green ammonia based on PV-wind hybrid plants”, recently published in Applied energy, in which they said the wind-solar hybrid could make green ammonia competitive in niche markets by 2030. “Niche markets can grow quite quickly. It depends on relative prices and policies. Pricing CO2 for emissions from maritime transport, but also for chemicals, could be a stimulus, â€Breyer further explained. “However, some companies can come up with more sustainable products, such as cruise ships without huge air pollution,†he added, noting that the industry currently had a fairly negative climate impact, which resulted in a bad reputation for this high cost segment of tourism.

According to lead research author Mahdi Fasihi, potential niches include: ammonia demand in remote areas with traditionally high ammonia transportation costs and good renewable energy resources; pioneer countries, regions or industries that would apply a significant CO2 emission cost or apply policies to reduce their GHG emissions by using alternative fuels or technologies; and the demand for ammonia as a means of transporting hydrogen to hydrogen refueling stations for fuel cell trucks and buses.

“Besides cost parity, the technological availability of the green ammonia production line is key to its rapid deployment,†Fasihi said. pv magazine. “All of the key components of the proposed green ammonia plant exist on a large scale today.”

The price of ammonia produced with the wind-solar hybrid could reach between € 345 and € 420 per tonne in 2030 against around € 440 and € 630 currently, the researchers determined. They also estimate that this price could fall further between € 300 and € 330 in 2040 and € 260 and € 290 in 2050. The current price of ammonia produced with fossil fuels is between € 300 and € 350 per tonne.

The document indicates that the regions of Patagonia and the Atacama Desert in South America and the countries of northwestern Europe are the areas with the greatest potential for the proposed combination. Scientists also pointed out that beyond 2030, green ammonia could become less expensive than natural gas-based ammonia with carbon capture and storage or with realistic GHG emissions costs. “Applying a GHG emissions cost could dramatically change the time and scale of such cost competitiveness,†they added. “For GHG emission costs of € 75 / tCO2, RE-based ammonia in 2040 would be competitive with natural gas at prices as low as $ 2 / MMBtu. “

For the future, the research team wants to study the costs of transporting ammonia through pipelines under different field conditions compared to power lines.

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