Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 17, 2020

Life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of ammonia production from renewable resources and industrial by-products

Author affiliations

Abstract

Conventionally, ammonia is produced from natural gas via steam methane reforming (SMR), water-gas shift reaction, and the Haber–Bosch process. The process uses fossil natural gas, which leads to 2.6 metric tons of life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per metric ton of ammonia produced. With ammonia being the second most produced chemical in the world, its production accounts for approximately 2% of worldwide fossil energy use and generates over 420 million tons of CO2 annually. To reduce its carbon intensity, ammonia synthesis relying on renewable energy or utilizing by-products from industrial processes is of interest. We conduct a life cycle analysis of conventional and alternative ammonia production pathways by tracking energy use and emissions in all conversion stages, from the primary material and energy resources to the ammonia plant gates. Of all the alternative pathways, obtaining N2 from cryogenic distillation and H2 from low-temperature electrolysis using renewable electricity has the lowest cradle-to-plant-gate GHG emissions, representing a 91% decrease from the conventional SMR pathway.

Graphical abstract: Life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of ammonia production from renewable resources and industrial by-products

Article information


Submitted
06 Jul 2020
Accepted
11 Aug 2020
First published
12 Aug 2020

Green Chem., 2020,22, 5751-5761
Article type
Paper

Life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emissions of ammonia production from renewable resources and industrial by-products

X. Liu, A. Elgowainy and M. Wang, Green Chem., 2020, 22, 5751 DOI: 10.1039/D0GC02301A

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements