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Global first as GreeNH3 secures UK Government funding

19/05/2022

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  • World’s first high-efficiency, supercritical electrolyser to green ammonia production process to be developed in the UK.

  • Supercritical, with partners ScottishPower and Proton Ventures, has secured around £146,000 funding from the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for Phase 1 of their GreeNH3 project as part of the UK Government’s Net Zero Innovation Portfolio Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 competition with up to £6 million available in Phase 2 subject to a competitive tender process.

  • The GreeNH3 project will deliver a highly optimised power to ammonia facility, offering both operational benefits in energy utilisation and capital cost improvements.

The revolutionary GreeNH3 project will transform the ammonia production process and usher in a new era of green hydrogen storage and distribution.

Ammonia – produced using hydrogen and nitrogen – is critically important in the production of fertiliser and as a fuel or energy carrier for hydrogen. However, the world’s largest ammonia production technologies use hydrogen from fossil fuel sources, with the majority of the carbon emissions generated in the hydrogen production method.

The GreeNH3 project will use Supercritical’s proprietary high-pressure electrolyser – powered by renewable energy – to deliver hydrogen without the need for gas compressors. This will then be used in Proton Ventures’ NFuel unit where the green hydrogen, under extremely high pressures, is combined with nitrogen from the air to produce ammonia.

Moving ammonia production to a greener process powered by renewable energy will not only help reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels; it could also help stabilise future energy costs for industry by breaking the link with the volatile gas market, which has seen prices reach unprecedented levels in recent months.

ScottishPower, one of the UK’s leading renewables developers, will operate the pilot facility, providing valuable operator and market feedback. ScottishPower is already exploring the export of green hydrogen or ammonia from the UK to countries like Germany through the Scot2Ger initiative.

Barry Carruthers, Hydrogen Director at ScottishPower, said: “Innovative solutions like this are driving forward the clean fuels revolution, bringing green hydrogen and ammonia to markets that may not have realised there is a greener alternative, giving them a chance to do their bit for Net Zero. We’re looking forward to working with our partners on this study and hopefully demonstrating a more sustainable, cost-efficient way of producing ammonia.”

Luke Tan, Chief Product Officer at Supercritical, said: “Supercritical’s electrolyser is a hand in glove fit with the Haber-Bosch process. This demonstration opportunity will prove that, enabling a new market for green ammonia.”

Nitish Gadgil, Project Manager at Proton Ventures, said: “Proton Ventures is proud and excited to partner up with Supercritical and ScottishPower for this innovative GreeNH3 project. Our modular NFuel unit produces green ammonia, which is the most promising green hydrogen carrier and we strongly believe that this study contributes in kickstarting the green hydrogen economy.”

Energy Minister Greg Hands said: “The UK is truly leading the world in hydrogen innovation thanks to exciting efforts like this.

“The government support received today will help to boost the development of hydrogen as the clean, affordable, homegrown superfuel of the future.”

The funding from the UK Government, supplied under the Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 Competition, aims to support innovation in the supply of hydrogen, reduce the costs of supplying hydrogen, bring new solutions to the market, and ensure that the UK continues to develop world-leading technologies for a future hydrogen economy. It follows on from the first Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply Competition. The competition forms part of the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP).

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