(585j) “Developing a Modern Renewable Fuel Standard for Gasoline in Ontario”   Ammonia (NH3) As a Potential Transportation Solution for Ontario

Vezina, G., Hydrofuel Inc.
Vezina, G., Hydrofuel Inc.
Specific report for discussion paper “Developing a modern renewable fuel standard for gasoline in Ontario”

Ammonia (NH3) as a Potential Transportation Solution for Ontario

University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Dincer

Yusuf Bicer

Hydrofuel Inc.

Greg Vezina (Chairman and CEO)

Frank Raso

February 21, 2017


Ammonia as a Carbon-Free Fuel for Use in the Transportation Sector

The action plan lays out the specific commitments Ontario is making to meet its 15% overall greenhouse gas emissions reduction target by 2020. Emissions from total passenger transportation (cars, trucks, bus, rail and domestic aviation) have grown almost 15% since 1990, to 36 million tonnes of CO2e, approximately 66% of Ontario’s 2014 transportation emissions. This growth was driven by an increase in vehicle-kilometres travelled as well as a shift in the composition of the fleet from cars to sport-utility vehicles, pick-ups and minivans where the specific contributions of the vehicle types are shown in Fig 1.

Fig. 1. Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 (data from Ref. 1).

Here, it is important to note that under Environment and Climate Change Canada’s economic sector categorization, most off-road transportation emissions are allocated to their host economic sectors and consequently are not included under transportation in Fig. 1. For example, emissions from diesel combustion in farm equipment are categorized under Agriculture. Therefore, in reality GHG emissions caused by the transportation vehicles are higher than 33% in Ontario.

Additionally, emissions from total freight transportation (trucks, rail and other) have increased more drastically over the period, rising 85% since 1990, to almost 18 million tonnes of CO2e (approximately one third of Ontario’s current transportation emissions). This was driven by a significant increase in the use of diesel-fuelled heavy-duty trucks, with additional kilometres travelled offsetting improvements in efficiency [1].

This brief report tries to address the following points:

  1. Targets and blending requirements:
    1. Ontario’s has existing content requirements for ethanol in gasoline. What minimum level of ethanol blending and GHG performance would help support the objectives of the RFS?
    2. Given Ontario’s GHG reduction targets for 2030 and 2050, what factors should be considered in setting RFS targets post-2020?
  2. Flexibility mechanisms:
    1. Should activities to lower the carbon intensity of other conventional transportation fuels be eligible for compliance purposes?
    2. Should investments in low-carbon transportation projects also be eligible for compliance purposes? If yes, what types of projects?
  3. Assessing lifecycle emissions
    1. Should an RFS consider impacts from indirect land-use changes (ILUC),7 even though science in this area continues to evolve? If so, how?
  4. Transparency:
    1. What measures can be taken to increase transparency and support business decision making under an RFS (e.g. an information registry, bulletins, guidance material)?
  5. Others:
    1. What other considerations should be included in the discussion?

    This report is primarily based upon three MITACS projects and several other location, feedstock or jurisdictionally based reports Hydrofuel Inc. has completed with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)

    PHASE 1 - Comparative assessment of NH3 production and utilization in transportation systems for Ontario http://www.nh3fuel.com/images/documents/2015-11-23%20-%20MITACS-Final-Re...

    • Extensive study on the ammonia production from various types of resources such as renewable energies (wind, solar), methane steam reforming and excess power in nuclear and/or hydro power plants. Assess the emissions and pollutants discarded by each method during processes.
    • Detailed study on ammonia based transportation systems and ammonia based commercial products ideas.
    • Identifying opportunities for green NH3 production and efficient utilization of ammonia in various sectors and especially in transportation sector.
    • Implementing life cycle analysis of ammonia production methods and impact of ammonia production on environment.
    • Ammonia fuel cycle comparison with conventional transportation systems in terms of sustainability and economics.
    • Assess the environmental, economic, sustainability and feasibility of the conceptual systems using life cycle considerations.

    PHASE 2 - Comparative assessment of NH3 production and utilization in agriculture, energy and utilities, and transportation systems for Ontario http://www.nh3fuel.com/images/documents/2016-06-17%20-%20MITACS-Final%20...

    • Oil sand and underground coal gasification based ammonia production methods will be investigated and green ammonia production from oil sands and coal reserves will be analyzed comprehensively.
    • Microwave dissociation of oil sand will be investigated for ammonia production.
    • Specific applications of chosen ammonia production methods will be determined based on potential scenarios in Canada.
    • Case studies will be conducted for various locations, such as that low cost hydroelectric based ammonia production opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador will be investigated, and an integrated system will be proposed to assess them thermoeconomically.
    • A detailed investigation of stranded natural gas microwave dissociation of high-pressure liquefied methane into hydrogen gas and elemental carbon will be investigated.
    • Direct ammonia usage opportunities in marine, mining, rail and transportation applications will be analyzed.
    • Comprehensive thermo-economic evaluations of chosen ammonia production methods will be conducted for various scenarios such as low cost hydropower and oil sands.
    • Experimental investigations of some novel ammonia production methods through some lab scale prototypes such as SSAS and molten salt based electrolytic ammonia synthesis will be investigated.
    • Lab scale molten salt based ammonia synthesis will be experimentally realized.

    PHASE 3 - Comprehensive Evaluation of NH3 Production and Utilization Options for Clean Energy Applications


    1. Energy and exergy analyses of
    • solar energy based electrochemical ammonia production
    • low-cost hydroelectric based ammonia production
    • wind energy based ammonia production
    • underground coal gasification based ammonia production
    • ammonia production via hydrocarbon decomposition such as dissociation of methane and oil sand bitumen
    1. Environmental impact assessments of
    • ammonia utilization in air transportation including freight transport
    • ammonia usage in sea transportation including ocean tankers and freight ships
    1. Thermo-economic analyses and evaluations of
    • hydropower, solar and wind energy based ammonia synthesis for Ontario.
    • on-site ammonia production and utilization for remote communities in Northwestern Ontario.
    • transport of ammonia vs. LNG via pipelines.
    • hydrocarbons based ammonia production for Alberta and Newfoundland.
    • ammonia utilization as a fuel for power, heating and cooling generation
    1. Optimization study of:
    • various resources based Haber-Bosch ammonia synthesis for lower energy requirement including wind and hydroelectric options
    1. Experimental investigation of:
    • molten salt based electrochemical ammonia synthesis at ambient pressure
    • concentrated solar energy based electrochemical ammonia synthesis
    1. Scalability and feasibility analyses of:
    • solar energy based electrochemical ammonia synthesis experimental setup
    • low-cost hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, ocean and biomass energy based ammonia synthesis methods
    • hydrocarbon decomposition based ammonia production methods


      Includes data from other reports at the HYDROFUEL® INC. website at http://www.NH3fuel.com


This paper has an Extended Abstract file available; you must purchase the conference proceedings to access it.


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