Apr 26, 2016

Energy research projects awarded funding at MIT

3 min
Nine energy research projects at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (MITEI) have been awarde...

Nine energy research projects at Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative (MITEI) have been awarded a total of $1.3 million under its annual Seed Fund Program.

The winning teams will use the grants — in amounts of up to $150,000 each — to support early-stage innovative research across the energy spectrum.

MITEI Director Robert Armstrong, the Chevron Professor of Chemical Engineering, said: “MITEI’s seed fund awards provide fertile ground for innovative and collaborative research efforts aimed at key global energy and climate solutions. The early-stage projects that our members are supporting through the MITEI Seed Fund Program this year have immense potential, and I have no doubt they’ll join the ranks of past years’ winners in successfully tackling some of our most difficult energy questions.”

The projects were selected out of 81 proposals representing 23 departments, labs, and centers, addressing topics ranging from synthetic fuel production to energy cybersecurity – the latter will be conducted by Stuart Madnick, the J.N. Maguire Professor of Information Technologies in the Sloan School of Management and professor of engineering systems in the School of Engineering. It will test a new method of cybersecurity risk reduction for energy systems based on applying concepts from industrial safety and systems thinking, called the Cybersafety Analysis Approach. The need for such a method is motivated by the intensified security risks presented by today’s increasingly complex and dynamic energy systems. Madnick plans to initially experiment with this method in action using the MIT Cogeneration Plant as a test case.  

The nine winning teams:

 "Advanced Algorithms for Carbon Capture and Sequestration Monitoring": Michael Fehler of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences; Laurent Demanet of the Department of Mathematics; and Aimé Fournier of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

"Aluminum Polymer Battery for Automobile Propulsion": Donald Sadoway of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

"Combined Electrochemical Concentration and Upgrading of Carbon Dioxide": Yogesh Surendranath of the Department of Chemistry and Alan Hatton of the Department of Chemical Engineering

"Cost-Optimizing Solar Power Systems for Water Desalination": Amos Winter of the Department of Mechanical Engineering; Tonio Buonassisi of the Department of Mechanical Engineering; and Ian Marius Peters of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

"Cybersafety Analysis of Energy Systems": Stuart Madnick of the MIT Sloan School of Management

"Design of Metal-Oxide Surfaces for Fast Oxygen Exchange in Fuel Cells, Synthetic Fuel Production and Separation Membranes": Bilge Yildiz of the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering and Ahmed Ghoniem of the Department of Mechanical Engineering

"Efficient Ensemble-based Closed-loop Oil Reservoir Management Using Hyper-reduced-order Models": John Williams of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

"Engineering Bifunctional Catalysts for CO2-Fischer Tropsch": Yuriy Roman of the Department of Chemical Engineering

"Understanding the Impact of Electric Vehicle Charging on the Power Grid: An Urban Mobility Perspective": Marta Gonzalez of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering  

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Jun 7, 2021

Trafigura and Yara International explore clean ammonia usage

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International sign MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping

Independent commodity trading company Trafigura and Yara International have signed an MoU to explore developing ammonia as a clean fuel in shipping and ammonia fuel infrastructure.

Reducing shipping emissions is a vital component of the fight against global climate change, yet Greenhouse Gas emissions from the global maritime sector are increasing - and at odds with the IMO's strategy to cut absolute emissions by at least 50% by 2050. 

How more than 70,000 ships can decrease their reliance on carbon-based sources is one of transport's most pressing decarbonisation challenges.

Yara and Trafigura intend to collaborate on initiatives that will establish themselves in the clean ammonia value chain. Under the MoU announced today, Trafigura and Yara intend to work together in the following areas:

  • The supply of clean ammonia by Yara to Trafigura Group companies
  • Exploration of joint R&D initiatives for clean ammonia application as a marine fuel
  • Development of new clean ammonia assets including marine fuel infrastructure and market opportunities

Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, said the agreement is a good example of cross-industry collaboration to develop and promote zero-emission fuel in the form of clean ammonia for the shipping industry. "Building clean ammonia value chains is critical to facilitate the transition to zero emission fuels by enabling the hydrogen economy – not least within trade and distribution where both Yara and Trafigura have leading capabilities. Demand and supply of clean ammonia need to be developed in tandem," he said.  

There is a growing consensus that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, but clear and comprehensive regulation is essential, according to Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director and Co-Head of Oil Trading for Trafigura.

Ammonia has a number of properties that require "further investigation," according to Wartsila. "It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important. Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process," it notes.

Trafigura has co-sponsored the R&D of MAN Energy Solutions’ ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime vessels, has performed in-depth studies of transport fuels with reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and has published a white paper on the need for a global carbon levy for shipping fuels to be introduced by International Maritime Organization.

Oslo-based Yara produces roughly 8.5 million tonnes of ammonia annually and employs a fleet of 11 ammonia carriers, including 5 fully owned ships, and owns 18 marine ammonia terminals with 580 kt of storage capacity – enabling it to produce and deliver ammonia across the globe.

It recently established a new clean ammonia unit to capture growth opportunities in emission-free fuel for shipping and power, carbon-free fertilizer and ammonia for industrial applications.

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