1Q 2023

Leveraging Ammonia as a Hydrogen Carrier and Decarbonization Tool

The ammonia industry is well established, with a long history that could position it well to decarbonize the global economy. The agriculture industry has been using ammonia to make fertilizer for more than a century, which has helped establish a robust global market and laid the framework for what could be the next great decarbonization solution. Ammonia’s production, transport and usage now has the technological maturity, infrastructure, and public familiarity to expand into new industries, such as fuel and energy storage.

As both a fuel for transportation and a vector for hydrogen, ammonia has the potential to slash emissions in some of the heaviest emitting sectors. Ammonia itself is carbon free, but almost all the supply produced today uses fossil fuels as feedstocks; therefore, new technologies that use low or no carbon solutions must be applied to decarbonize ammonia production. From a utilization perspective, additional investment in infrastructure and equipment retrofits is needed to realize ammonia’s full potential.

This Guidehouse Insights report discusses how technological developments are highlighting new possibilities for ammonia and forcing companies to reassess how they approach their decarbonization goals. The report includes detailed and actionable recommendations for policymakers, equipment manufacturers, and the consumers of fuels for transportation and power generation to address this new phenomenon.

Pages 21
Tables | Charts | Figures 4
  • How is ammonia produced, and how can it be made cleaner?
  • What are the usual applications of ammonia? Can it be harmful?
  • How else can ammonia be used? Which sectors could most benefit?
  • How big is ammonia’s infrastructure for transport and storage?
  • Which other decarbonization solutions compete with ammonia?
  • What challenges does ammonia face as a fuel and decarbonization tool? 
  • Policymakers and regulators
  • Ports / ship and cargo owners
  • Truckers, factories, farmers, and off-road equipment operators
  • Electrolyzer manufacturers and carbon capture technology vendors
  • Power plant owners and renewable project developers
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • Investor community




Applying Ammonia’s History to Its Future

Ammonia, a Market Rooted in Agriculture, Is Branching Out

Growing Trade and Infrastructure to Meet Ammonia’s Burgeoning Demand

Balancing Decarbonization Efforts with Environmental and Safety Considerations

As a Carrier and Fuel, Ammonia Offers Dual Decarbonization Potential

Versatility Enhances Ammonia’s Decarbonization Potential

Cleaning Up Ammonia’s Act

Carrying Green Hydrogen into the Energy Transition

Building Up the Ammonia Economy by Reducing Costs

Propelling the Shipping Sector in a New Direction

Ammonia Could Make Marks on or off the Road

Ammonia Holds the Power to Generate (and Store) Electricity

Hard-to-Abate Sectors Need to See Ammonia’s Potential

Policy Must Cut Costs, Manage Risk, Encourage Trade and Scale Up the Market

Technology and Equipment Vendors Can Be Key to Cutting Costs

Ports, Ship, and Cargo Owners Must Prepare for New Maritime Fuel

Truckers, Factories, and Farmers Must Reconsider Machinery Purchases

Ammonia Could Be a Solution for Critical Customers and Renewable Developers

  • Ammonia Production via Steam Methane Reforming
  • Ammonia Production via Autothermal Reforming
  • Green Ammonia Production from Water Electrolysis
  • Ammonia Economy under Multiple Production Pathways
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