Storagenergy Technologies will develop a solid-state electrolyzer that uses nitrogen or air for high-rate ammonia production. Current electrolyzer systems for ammonia production have several challenges. Some use acidic membranes that can react with ammonia, resulting in lower conductivity and reduced membrane life. Operation at conventional low temperatures (<100°C) traditionally have low rates of reactions, while those that operate at high temperatures (>500°C) have long-heating processes that make them less practical for intermittent operation using renewable energy. The Storagenergy team has chosen a system that operates at an intermediate temperature (100-300°C) and uses an alkaline membrane environment to minimize side-reactions with the ammonia. To develop their technology, the team will combine a low-cost solid-state hydroxide conducting membrane, a nanostructured cathode catalyst, and a noble metal-free nanoparticle catalyst on the anode. This proposed system will synthesize ammonia more efficiently and at much lower temperatures and pressures than traditional ammonia production techniques. The modular nature of the system will also allow it to be deployed near the point of use.
If successful, developments from REFUEL projects will enable energy generated from domestic, renewable resources to increase fuel diversity in the transportation sector in a cost-effective and efficient way.
The U.S. transportation sector is heavily dependent on petroleum for its energy. Increasing the diversity of energy-dense liquid fuels would bolster energy security and help reduce energy imports.
Liquid fuels created using energy from renewable resources are carbon-neutral, helping reduce transportation sector emissions.
Fuel diversity reduces exposure to price volatility. By storing energy in hydrogen-rich liquid fuels instead of pure hydrogen in liquid or gaseous form, transportation costs can be greatly reduced, helping make CNLFs cost-competitive with traditional fuels.