A $4.6 billion plant will make ammonia ‘the fuel of the future’
Tiny, single-aisle, gas-powered ammonia plants are poised to displace the current practice of burning natural gas for fuel aboard American fishing vessels, providing renewable fuel at a fraction of the cost and making the world a healthier place.
According to the U.S. Navy, the world’s largest shipbuilder, the U.S. Navy’s most modern, advanced-fiber-optic-fuel-fired (FFF) fuel-delivery system is already delivering fuel, at least for its own ships, in about 45 minutes. That’s 30 years faster than diesel fuel, according to a recent report.
With the advent of an energy revolution, it’s essential that U.S. Navy ships keep up with the pace of technology.
One of the innovations that the Navy should be able to leverage in the next few decades is a “fuel-delivery” system called a gas-turbine, which will produce fuel from solid natural gas, rather than burning it.
A gas-turbine produces fuel by turning a gas turbine that uses a fuel and oxygen mixture to make combustion. A chemical process called cracking or liquefaction separates the nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and water from the natural gas.
The ammonia (NH3) gas is then piped to a stack, where the carbon monoxide is burned, producing the fuel. The water and nitrogen are returned to the natural gas; the carbon monoxide leaves the natural gas system.
For a $4.6 billion plant, ammonia plants will reduce the energy demands of U.S. Navy ships by 40 percent by the end of this decade. The Navy can also save a substantial amount of money on fuel storage, according to the study.
That may seem like a giant leap, but NH3 is already being used to create renewable fuels for a number of industries, including the U.S. space program,