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.
Ammonia, which is 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 revolutionise that process and usher in a new era of green hydrogen storage and distribution.
It 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.
ScottishPower renewable energy site. Credit: Kieron Obee
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.
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.”
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.”
Energy Minister Greg Hands said: “The UK is truly leading the world in hydrogen innovation thanks to the exciting efforts of companies like Supercritical Solutions.
“The government support which they have 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).
Supercritical is developing the world’s first high pressure, ultra-efficient electrolyser, for the production of hydrogen and oxygen from water, with zero emissions. By using heat and pressure Supercritical’s proprietary design allows them to exploit the benefits of supercritical water and deliver gases at over 200 bar of pressure, without the expense or challenges of hydrogen compressors. With this, Supercritical will deliver the lowest cost of pressurised green hydrogen.
About Proton Ventures
Proton Ventures is an independent engineering company operating in the chemical industry. We provide innovative engineering and turnkey solutions for world-scale storage terminals, decentralized ammonia production units and other related process applications. We strive to be a key player in decentralized chemical energy storage, making renewable energy accessible to everyone. As a technological innovator, we enable our global partners to benefit from our safe, reliable, efficient and environmentally responsible solutions. We offer innovative applications in terminal concepts, NFuel and Utilities, as well as consulting and services in the field of engineering, procurement and cost calculation for turnkey projects.
ScottishPower is a major energy company with renewable generation, retail supply and network interests; a leading developer of wind power in the UK, and part of the Iberdrola Group, the world’s leading renewables developer. ScottishPower generates 100% green electricity and our parent company, Iberdrola, is a global leader in tackling climate change, with a commitment to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050. At the end of 2020, we launched our Green Hydrogen Business Division and are working with parties in ‘hard-to-decarbonise’ sectors such as heavy transport and heavy industry to help them take forward opportunities to decarbonise through the use of zero-carbon, green hydrogen produced using renewable generation.
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
This funding has been made available from the government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, which aims to support innovation in the supply of hydrogen. This competition looks to provide funding for projects that can help develop a wide range of innovative low-carbon hydrogen supply solutions.