Siemens AG, a German firm headquartered in Munich, has inaugurated a £1.5 million pilot venture in Oxfordshire, with an aim to promoting the use of ammonia as a new kind of energy storage. Reportedly, the firm wants to prove the significance of ammonia as a kind of storage technology that can effectively store wind & solar energy.
The proof-of-concept unit at the Harwell facility of Siemens will convert electricity, air, and water into ammonia without releasing carbon in the atmosphere. Dr Ian Wilkinson, Program Manager, Green Ammonia Demonstrator, Siemens, has stated that green ammonia storage would be visibly different from other types of energy storage, given it does not merely endorse filling in the gaps, but analyzes mobility and other industrial uses as well.
The Harvell facility is all set to be inaugurated on 26th June of this year. Reports state that it had received funding worth £500,000 from Siemens as well as £1 million from Innovate UK, the innovation agency of the UK government.
Industry experts are of the view that ammonia can be useful not only for improving agricultural yield, but also for enhancing the deployment of renewable energy. Ammonia seemingly has an added advantage over other new storage systems, such as “flow batteries” and “liquid air” as it can be used to repurpose current technology & hardware.
For the record, globally, 170 million tons of ammonia are manufactured every year, a considerable share of which is utilized by farmers to improve their crop yield. Most of this proportion is manufactured from natural gas and the process leads to emission of greenhouse gases in large amounts. However, Siemens claims that its Harwell unit does not make use of fossil fuel for ammonia production.