Small-scale renewable-powered ammonia production is more sustainable than the current fossil fuel- and energy-intensive method. The development of lower capital cost absorbent-enhanced ammonia synthesis as well as the concept of modular chemical processes may improve the economic feasibility of such a paradigm. This possibility is investigated through an ammonia supply chain optimization study wherein modular, wind-powered ammonia production based on this new technology can be added to the existing infrastructure. The benefit of modularity is captured via a mass production exponent which reduces per-module capital cost as more are constructed. Case studies for Minnesota and Iowa show first adoption of 8760 t/y modules at conventional ammonia prices of $610/t and $574/t, respectively, which are considerably lower than those required for incorporation of scaled-down Haber-Bosch. For mass production exponents of 0.9 and less, modular production results in lower supply chain cost and more renewable incorporation than its continuous counterpart.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy, under Award Number DE-AR0000804; and in part by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR,/ ML 2015, CH 76, SEC 2, SUBD 07A). The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof. The authors also thank Stylianos Daoutidis for valuable discussion regarding the quantification of economies of mass production.
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