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Design and Analysis of an Offshore Wind Power to Ammonia Production System in Nova Scotia


Green ammonia has potential as a zero-emissions energy vector in applications such as energy storage, transmission and distribution, and zero-emissions transportation. Renewable energy such as offshore wind energy has been proposed to power its production. This paper designed and analyzed an on-land small-scale power-to-ammonia (P2A) production system with a target nominal output of 15 tonnes of ammonia per day, which will use an 8 MW offshore turbine system off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada as the main power source. The P2A system consists of a reverse osmosis system, a proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolyser, a hydrogen storage tank, a nitrogen generator, a set of compressors and heat exchangers, an autothermal Haber-Bosch reactor, and an ammonia storage tank. The system uses an electrical grid as a back-up for when the wind energy is insufficient as the process assumes a steady state. Two scenarios were analyzed with Scenario 1 producing a steady state of 15 tonnes of ammonia per day, and Scenario 2 being one that switched production rates whenever wind speeds were low to 55% the nominal capacity. The results show that the grid connected P2A system has significant emissions for both scenarios, which is larger than the traditional fossil-fuel based ammonia production, when using the grid in provinces like Nova Scotia, even if it is just a back-up during low wind power generation. The levelized cost of ammonia (LCOA) was calculated to be at least 2323 CAD tonne−1 for both scenarios which is not cost competitive in this small production scale. Scaling up the whole system, reducing the reliance on the electricity grid, increasing service life, and decreasing windfarm costs could reduce the LCOA and make this P2A process more cost competitive.

Funding source: This work was supported by the Departments of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and Chemical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. We acknowledge the support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), [funding reference number RGPIN2021-02453 and RGPIN-2020-04149], and the Waterloo Interdisciplinary Trailblazer Fund (90578). M.F. was supported by the Canada Research Chair Tier I—Zero-Emission Vehicles and Hydrogen Energy Systems, Grant number 950-232215. C.J.C. was supported by the Deans Entrance Award of the Faculty of Engineering.
Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Canada

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