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Solid State Ammonia Synthesis Pilot Plant (SSAS-PP)
Figs. 13, 14, SSAS-PP. Renewable-source electricity is converted to NH3 in an SSAS reactor, stored as liquid fuel, regenerated in an NH3 fueled genset for return to the local electricity grid. The system is thoroughly instrumented for SCADA system report via internet to remote data collection and analysis at the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP), University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF). 2 This SSAS-PP demonstration system is a complete, instrumented, self-contained, containerized (insulated CONEX), transportable, NH3 synthesis, storage, and regeneration system. It is capable of closed-loop NH3 synthesis, storage, and regeneration from RE-source electricity, water, and air. The two-year design, fabrication, and test project should begin in early 2013.
Figure 13. A multi-PCC-tube SSAS reactor would resemble a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in architecture.
Figure 14. Proposed SSAS proof-of-concept pilot plant (SSAS-PP) demonstration system: a complete, instrumented, self-contained, containerized (insulated CONEX), transportable NH3 synthesis, storage, and regeneration system. Capable of closed-loop NH3 synthesis, storage, and regeneration from RE-source electricity, water, and air.
Methodology: Design, build, test, and deploy in Alaska a complete SSAS-PP, operating in closed-loop NH3 fuel production from RE-source electricity, with on-board NH3 fuel storage and CHP regeneration of the NH3 fuel for feedback to the RE-source electricity grid. The on-board SCADA system will collect real time and logged performance data. ACEP will monitor and validate the SCADA data and help analyze and publish it.
This pilot-scale demonstration of how renewable electricity generation from diverse local sources may supply a major share, or all, of a village or small community “energy island” annual energy consumption – of electricity and of heating and vehicle fuels -- with annual-scale firming via energy storage as NH3 fuel. The average annual “village” cost of energy will depend on:
The total annual average cost of energy (COE) at the village may or may not be lower than recent market prices for fossil fuel, but this COE will be predictable, after O&M cost is determined by experience, because fuel cost is zero. This pilot-scale system capacity of about 0.5 kWe input, producing about 1.5 kg of NH3 fuel per day, will be about 1% of the scale needed for a typical Alaska village of 200 people.
A custom-built ammonia-fueled ICE genset is available for the SSAS-PP, similar to that in Fig. 9. Further R&D and Demonstration would need to be done to confidently and economically modify ICE’s, including those now operating in Alaska community electricity generation service, for multi-fuel (diesel or NH3) service. In 2010 Sturman Industries demonstrated a test camless all-electronic internal combustion engine (ICE) operating very efficiently on 100% NH3 liquid fuel injection, in compression ignition, without significant NOx formation. 3 This would be the critical component and technology of efficient ICE gensets, although other techniques for operating ICE’s on NH3 fuel have been demonstrated. In a CHP installation, over 90% of the NH3 fuel energy could be recovered.
SSAS now needs to be demonstrated in a scale-model reactor composed of about 5-20 PCC tubes, with gas management, packaging, and electric interface that will be necessary for commercial-scale (10 – 1,000 kW modules, scalable to any size) SSAS systems. Satisfactory performance and durability testing on the first reactor advances SSAS to proof-of-concept technology readiness level (TRL) 5-6.
The goal of this EETF project is demonstrating potential scaleup to achieve commercial success at $200K per metric ton (Mt) anhydrous ammonia (NH3) per day capital cost, 7.5 kWh / kg NH3 conversion (75% efficiency (HHV)).
Objectives of this EETF project, building the SSAS-PP:
SSAS-PP Key technology elements are:
The following are proven, key technology elements of little technical risk for the SSAS-PP: