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
Article

Abstract

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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Keywords

Ammonia Fuel Hydrogen Life cycle assessment Environmental effect Conventional 

Abbreviations

BWR

boiling water reactor

CCS

carbon capture storage

CFBG

circulating fluidized bed gasifier

CNG

compressed natural gas

DG

downdraft gasifier

GHG

greenhouse gas

HHV

higher heating value

IPCC

intergovernmental panel on climate change

LCA

life cycle analysis

LPG

liquefied petroleum gas

PEM

proton exchange membrane

PV

photovoltaic

PWR

pressurized water reactor

SD

standard deviation

SMR

steam methane reforming

USES

The Uniform System for the Evaluation of Substances

UCG

underground coal gasification

Notes

Acknowledgements

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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