Brave New World: Is Ammonia a Silver Bullet for the Large Scale Electricity Storage Dilemma?”
In the current conditions of constantly growing energy demand, the transition of national energy systems from fossil fuels to electricity is generally viewed as one of the crucial steps towards mitigating climate change through reducing carbon emissions. However, at the current stage of technological development, overall electrification is fraught with difficulties related to the limited possibility of long-term large-scale energy storage in a transportable form. In this context, unconventional ammonia (NH3) production by means of electrosynthesis is viewed by many as a ‘silver bullet’ capable to successfully address all these complex problems, as the marginal costs of electricity production could be minimized and ammonia itself can be used either directly as a fuel or as a source of hydrogen for fuel cells. Using two uncertainties – intemittency/non-intermittency and excess/non-excess energy – as general characteristics shaping national energy sectors, this paper utilises the 2×2 matrix developed by Shell to generate four scenario quadrants to analyse the economic attractiveness of unconventional ammonia production for large-scale long-term electricity storage and transportation. Analysing each scenario from technological, regulatory, and policy conditions, the research aims to identify which scenario, if any, represents the most economically efficient solution for the large-scale electricity storage dilemma.