Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis with a Nitride Ion Conducting Electrolyte
The Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) will develop an electrochemical ammonia generator capable of using intermittent energy delivered by renewable sources. The team will build an electrochemical device based on a solid-state electrolyte that converts nitrogen from the air and hydrogen to ammonia in a single step at temperatures and pressures far lower than today’s dominant ammonia production technology, the Haber-Bosch process. The system will be modular and readily scalable, decoupling production cost from scale and allowing it to produce ammonia for diverse customers, from industry to farms and beyond.
If successful, the proposed technology could enable distributed ammonia production for alternative fuels and agricultural use, decrease energy input by more than 20%, and substantially simplify the Haber-Bosch process.
Additional capacity for NH3 production would decrease the U.S. dependence on NH3 imports, which were 30% in 2016.
Carbon-neutral NH3 produced from renewables would decrease CO2 emissions by ~40 metric tons per year (equivalent to energy savings of ~ 0.4 quads or 117,228,433,333 kWh per year).