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FuelPositive aiming to deploy pilot green ammonia production system in summer 2022

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World Fertilizer,

Canadian company FuelPositive Corp. has issued an update on its green ammonia production technology, a modular and scalable system for use across a broad spectrum of industries and applications.

FuelPositive began to build its first full-sized prototype system in June, immediately after filing for its provisional patent on its reactor technology. The building of the second and third prototypes is scheduled to begin before the end of 2021, applying a batch-style approach to manufacturing.

By the end of March 2022, the team will be validating the purity of the green ammonia produced by the first prototype system, as well as the OPEX numbers. Pre-orders will begin at that point. The first pilot system will be ready to deploy in the summer of 2022. The second and third systems will deploy later in 2022. The company will also house one system in its facility for further development, monitoring and demonstration.

As batch sizes increase, the company expects serial manufacturing (assembly line-style) will begin in 2023.

“This has been an incredible year for us. In January, we became FuelPositive; in March, we signed the intellectual property acquisition deal for our green ammonia technology with Dr. Ibrahim Dincer and his team; in May, we formed our manufacturing partnership with National Compressed Air to build our prototype systems; in June we filed for our provisional patent and began to build our prototype production systems. Since then, we have raised over CA$12 million, which will cover our costs to build a number of green ammonia production systems. We are on track to launch multiple “real world” demonstration pilot projects to showcase our technology throughout 2022. And – maybe the most important achievement of all – we have assembled a team of undisputed experts in their fields – from engineering and manufacturing to robotics and carbon credits,” said Ian Clifford, Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair of FuelPositive. “We are highly efficient, knowledgeable and experienced in every step we need to take along the way to commercialization. We can move much more quickly than our competitors and that is one of our great strengths!”

Critical to the commercialisation of the company’s system for producing green ammonia is a practical costing model and an aggressive timeline to be first to market. Both the costing model and the timeline were presented in detail in a corporate update webinar held on 18 November, providing stakeholders with an opportunity to ask questions of Chief Executive Officer Ian Clifford and Chief Operating Officer Nelson Leite.

Groups around the world are racing to make green ammonia a reality. While there are many parties working on it, attempts until now have been too expensive, putting them out of reach of end users. About 80% of traditional or “grey” ammonia, which is produced using fossil fuels, is used by the agriculture sector, primarily as fertilizer. For green ammonia to be embraced by farmers, it must be affordable. FuelPositive is targeting farming for its first demonstration pilot project.

For the purposes of this costing model, FuelPositive has worked from a case study based on a 1800-acre farm in Manitoba, Canada, where the average price of grey ammonia in 2021 has been calculated at CA$900/t. (The delivered cost of grey anhydrous ammonia to farmers in Manitoba, Canada doubled from CA$600 to over CA$1200/t in a period of six months this year. That averages at CA$900/t delivered to the farm this year.)

The initial FuelPositive systems will produce up to 300 kilos (500 liters) of green anhydrous ammonia per day, which amounts to roughly 100 tpy. This output is suitable for the company's model farm of 1800 acres.

The cost of production (operating expenditure or OPEX) for the case study has been calculated by FuelPositive at approximately CA$560/t (based on a hydrogen production efficiency rate of 65%), compared to the current average cost of CA$900/t of grey ammonia. FuelPositive is forecasting under CA$500/t for future systems as production efficiencies improve.

Electricity costs for the farm are estimated at CA$0.045 (4.5 cents) per kilowatt hour. This is based on the current cost of electricity paid in Manitoba, which has a carbon-free, sustainable electricity grid. The electricity cost represents the largest component of the overall cost of the green ammonia produced in the FuelPositive system.

This cost does not consider any additional potential cost reductions related to carbon credits, which could reduce the cost by 50% or more, or the farmer’s own capacity to generate sustainable electricity for the FuelPositive system through solar or wind generation on site. Today the cost of solar power is at parity with the Manitoba grid, however the cost of renewables are predicted to continue to decline.

The key takeaways from the case study show that the FuelPositive system provides:

  • Stable, predictable, and highly competitive cost of CA$560/t, compared with grey anhydrous ammonia for which the average cost this year is CA$900/t.
  • Independence from the wildly fluctuating supply chain that exists today for grey anhydrous ammonia.
  • Onsite production and utilisation of a truly sustainable, carbon-free and green form of anhydrous ammonia.
  • The potential for farmers to not only utilise their own source of green anhydrous ammonia as fertilizer, but to branch out further and have their own source of combustion fuel to replace fossil fuels in grain drying and internal combustion engine equipment, such as tractors and combines.

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