A $4.6 billion plant will make ammonia ‘the fuel of the future’
A commercial-scale plant could be up and running within 15 years, using US biofuels such as corn and ethanol – at a net cost of less than $4 a gallon.
That would mean reducing the use of gasoline and diesel. (Credit: The World Bank )
A commercial-scale ammonia plant that could cost less than US$4 a gallon and power the equivalent of 40,000 homes could be up and running within 15 years, based on a model developed by the World Bank and US experts.
It would transform the world’s energy landscape and generate tens of thousands of jobs in ammonia and the downstream chemical industry.
The model, which has been produced by The New Economics Foundation, calculates the economic benefits of ammonia at a scale of 25m tonnes per year, using US biofuels such as corn and ethanol, at a net cost of less than $4 a gallon.
US Department of Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said the ammonia industry would be a big economic driver for the US economy and the US could use ammonia to power future cars, boats, ships, planes and cargo ships and to burn in power stations, as well as producing ammonia to make fertilisers.
The project, which is based on studies by US and European university scientists, estimates there will be about 100m tonnes of ammonia produced every year, according to a US government estimate.
A commercial ammonia plant would take ammonia produced at a facility in the US – made from renewable sources such as corn ethanol, waste streams and other agricultural sources such as manure, wastewater, landfills and food – and create ammonia from fossil fuels or renewable natural gas, as ammonia is produced by combining nitrogen with oxygen in the presence of hydrogen.
To create the ammonia, the US would need natural gas as feedstock, a natural gas feedstock that includes coal and is produced mostly from renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, wave, tidal and solar.
‘This is a paradigm-shifting opportunity’
The World Bank is backing the project with $3.6 billion in