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Ammonia to Green Hydrogen: efficient system for ammonia cracking for application to long distance transportations


State of the art systems for H2 recovery from ammonia require reaction units and catalysts operating at high temperatures (550-800°C) for complete ammonia conversion and are principally based on fired and heat transfer limited cracker design. The application of heat sources to deliver the required thermal energy is a restricting challenge for ammonia as a reliable Hydrogen carrier. Moreover, components thermal losses, power consumed by pumps, and loss of hydrogen due to imperfect recovery in conventional separation and purification section represent other important issues to address for the next generation ammonia dehydrogenation plants. In this regard, proposals should contain a set of principles applied in catalyst and reactor design, which can bring significant benefits in terms of process intensification and chain efficiency, lower capital and operating expenses, higher quality of products, less waste and improved process safety. Therefore, it is of interest to develop and demonstrate, at prototype scale, low-cost catalysts and integrated reactors that can deliver hydrogen at a high rate per volume from ammonia dehydrogenation at relatively low temperatures and high conversion so that zero-carbon pure hydrogen can be transported at long distances.

More in detail proposals should include:

  • Development of catalyst (CRMs free catalysts or reduction of CRMs use should be considered) and reactor for the ammonia dehydrogenation at lower temperature compared to state of the art, capable to:
    • ensuring the highest possible ammonia conversion (>98%) reducing the downstream cleaning/recycling steps;
    • improving the overall thermal efficiency of the ammonia dehydrogenation step;
    • providing high reliability, ease of operation, and cost-effectiveness to hydrogen production.
  • A demonstration system, running for at least 500 hours and producing at least 10 kg H2/day at atmospheric pressure;
  • Demonstration of hydrogen fuel quality (according to ISO 14687:2019) from dehydrogenation of the liquid hydrogen carrier in relevant conditions;
  • Demonstration of Scalability of the developed system to large-scale production (equivalent to the 100 tH2/day) for long distance transportation;
  • A Life Cycle Assessment of the developed system in the frame of the whole supply chain: ammonia inventory and make-up, (de)hydrogenation steps, temporary storage, shipping, CRM net consumption, etc;
  • Techno-economic analysis for the scalability of the developed system to large-scale production for long distance transportation, i.e. 1000 t H2/day, including centralised hydrogenation plant, storage, shipping and distributed dehydrogenation plants.

In order for the proposal to reach the expected outcome, the deliverables should be disseminated at the end of the proposal to the hydrogen mobility and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure sectors and relevant working groups of the standardisation technical committee’s such as ISO TC 197, CEN TC 268, including the hydrogen purity standard ISO14687 and EN17124, related to hydrogen fuel sampling.

Proposals are expected to address sustainability and circularity aspects.

Activities are expected to start at TRL 3 and achieve TRL 5 by the end of the project.

The conditions related to this topic are provided in the chapter of the Clean Hydrogen JU 2022 Annual Work Plan and in the General Annexes to the Horizon Europe Work Programme 2021–2022 which apply mutatis mutandis.