Environmental Management

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 842–855 | Cite as

Impact Assessment and Environmental Evaluation of Various Ammonia Production Processes

  • Yusuf Bicer
  • Ibrahim Dincer
  • Greg Vezina
  • Frank Raso


In the current study, conventional resources-based ammonia generation routes are comparatively studied through a comprehensive life cycle assessment. The selected ammonia generation options range from mostly used steam methane reforming to partial oxidation of heavy oil. The chosen ammonia synthesis process is the most common commercially available Haber-Bosch process. The essential energy input for the methods are used from various conventional resources such as coal, nuclear, natural gas and heavy oil. Using the life cycle assessment methodology, the environmental impacts of selected methods are identified and quantified from cradle to gate. The life cycle assessment outcomes of the conventional resources based ammonia production routes show that nuclear electrolysis-based ammonia generation method yields the lowest global warming and climate change impacts while the coal-based electrolysis options bring higher environmental problems. The calculated greenhouse gas emission from nuclear-based electrolysis is 0.48 kg CO2 equivalent while it is 13.6 kg CO2 per kg of ammonia for coal-based electrolysis method.

Graphical Abstract

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Ammonia Fuel Hydrogen Life cycle assessment Environmental effect Conventional 



boiling water reactor


carbon capture storage


circulating fluidized bed gasifier


compressed natural gas


downdraft gasifier


greenhouse gas


higher heating value


intergovernmental panel on climate change


life cycle analysis


liquefied petroleum gas


proton exchange membrane




pressurized water reactor


standard deviation


steam methane reforming


The Uniform System for the Evaluation of Substances


underground coal gasification



We acknowledge the support provided by the Mitacs (The Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems) Accelerate.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflictof interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering and Applied ScienceUniversity of Ontario Institute of TechnologyOshawaCanada
  2. 2.HydrofuelInc.MississaugaCanada

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