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A comparative study of ammonia energy systems as a future energy carrier, with particular reference to vehicle use in Japan

Miura, Daisuke, Tezuka, Tetsuo
Energy 2014 v.68 pp. 428-436
ammonia, carbon dioxide, cost effectiveness, electricity, energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions, hydrogen, research and development, Japan
The choice of secondary energy carriers, such as electricity, hydrogen and ammonia, influences not only economic and environmental performances but also the reliability of an entire energy system. This article focuses on ammonia because of its excellent property in energy storage, and assesses the relative advantages of several ammonia energy systems for vehicle use in Japan by estimating energy efficiency, CO2 emissions, and the supply cost of several ammonia energy paths, which are then compared with alternative paths using different energy carriers including hydrogen and electricity. The article also discusses inherent merits and challenges of ammonia energy systems and identifies directions for future research and development. Using ammonia as an energy carrier was demonstrated to be competitive in terms of efficiency, CO2 emissions and supply cost for energy systems requiring fairly large numbers of storage days. This assessment shows that the use of ammonia in an energy system can improve the continuity of the energy supply in a country or region with insecurity of supply. On the other hand, we argue that further technical improvements and cost reduction associated with both conventional and unconventional ammonia production is imperative for using ammonia in a normal energy system.