ABB reported Apr. 20 that it’s collaborating with three partners, Skovgaard Energy, Topsoe and Vestas, to build what they report is the world’s first dynamic, green, power-to-ammonia (PtA) plant. Located in Lemvig, Denmark, this demonstration plant will run on energy from its own wind turbines, and avoid using electricity from the grid. This energiteknologiske udviklings og demonstrationsprogram (EUDP) is already under construction, and is expected to start production in early 2024.
“We’re delighted to be part of this pioneering demonstration project. ABB is supplying full electrical integration for the PtA plant, with control and management of the process,” says Jeppe Skovgaard Bentzen, segment manager at ABB. “We have the control and automation skills needed to automation integrated electrical solutions, preferably incorporating our own products and others customized to user requirements. In this instance, we’re dealing with full automation and electrical distribution from the electrolysis process for further processing of hydrogen to ammonia and everything in between.”
Designed to convert green electricity to another form of energy, such as green fuels, several power-to-x plants (PtX) are under construction in Denmark. They’re intended to boost the green transition by solving the challenge of allowing energy from wind or solar to be stored in more durable forms.
Electrolysis can be used to produce green hydrogen from electricity and water, which can be used for transportation. However, if hydrogen from electrolysis is processed one step further by adding nitrogen, then ammonia is created. Ammonia can contain a lot more energy than hydrogen, making it ideal for heavy transportation or agriculture that usually gets it hydrogen from fossil-fuel sources. It’s also easier to distribute ammonia than hydrogen because the infrastructure is already in place, which makes ammonia easier to commercialize in the short term.
“What makes dynamic plants unique is hey can produce green fuels when the sun shines and the wind blow, and can gear production down when neither is present,” explains Bentzen. “That makes them different from other types of PtX plants, which are directly connected to the grid, making them not quite as agile in terms of being able to adapt to fluctuations in renewable energy.
“Getting the various types of PtX plants to run optimally will be a complex job within green electrification. For example, we need enough energy constantly available at the times when we can’t produce sufficient renewable energy from the sun and wind, for example. Running PtX plants also has to be adapted to capacity on the electricity grid, to avoid it breaking down when fluctuations in energy production and consumption become excessive. And that’s where dynamic plants will play a key role.”