Exploring Ammonia as a Fuel for Emissions Reduction

In order to reduce global emissions, several potential fuels are being explored as alternatives to fossil fuels, particularly in the transport and power generation sectors. Ammonia has been garnering particular interest due to it being carbon-free, relatively easy to liquefy, a carrier of hydrogen, and itself having no GHG potential. We are currently working on two projects to assess the feasibility of ammonia as a fuel.

Constructing a detailed mechanism for ammonia combustion:

This project makes use of first-principles kinetics and the Reaction Mechanism Generator (RMG) to help us understand the combustion process and how the emissions are impacted by different temperatures, pressures, equivalence ratios and residence times. A state-of-the-art chemical kinetic model is being built for ammonia combustion in air guided by RMG, with sensitivity analyses and high-level electronic structure calculations being conducted to refine the kinetic parameters of the key reactions. Reactor simulations are also employed to compare standard observables such as ignition delay time to experimental measurements.

Analysis of Electricity Generation via Co-firing of Ammonia with Reduced Fossil Fuels:

The overall objective of this project is to compare the cost and emissions for electricity generated using ammonia (NH3) co-fired with natural gas (NG) or coal over a range of conditions (from 0% to 100% NH3) against low carbon alternatives (thermal with carbon capture and storage (CCS), wind, and solar) within the same electricity markets. The analysis is based on performing a systems analysis that spans the entire value chain from production to end-use. For the production and power generation stage, we developed detailed plant-scale models to characterize cost, performance and emissions outcomes for various technological configurations using blended fuels. In addition, power grid modeling will be carried out for the potential NH3 consumption regions to understand the economic and environmental impacts of co-firing coal or NG plants with ammonia based on parameters identified from the plant-scale models for power generation and landed cost and emissions burden of the feed ammonia. The main electricity market for ammonia consumption to be studied will be India, with ammonia production occurring in Australia.