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Advanced materials and Reactors for ENergy storage tHrough Ammonia

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Duration  48 months
Start April 2020
Total amount of the project 5.7 M€
Grant agreement ► 862484
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In the current context of global momentum in favour of renewable electricity catalysed by spectacular levelized production cost decrease, higher storage capacity is required to ensure security and flexibility providing a portfolio of services from grid services to the decarbonization of energy intensive sectors like the transport, industry or heating and cooling sector.

Current viable business cases for energy storage consider mainly low energy-to-power ratio storage applications. In that case, battery systems reveal to be decisive components of the energy management system especially for fast response services and short-term grid storage. Nevertheless, in our new energy paradigm where distributed renewable generation cohabits with increasingly larger wind or PV power plants located farther away from consumption sites, the ability to store seasonably large quantities of energy in the form of a dispatchable energy carrier is a key element.

For that purpose, hydrogen produced from electrolysis reveals to be a key pathway to unlock the full potential of renewable and especially for seasonal energy storage of large energy quantities and more specifically for all situations dealing with a large energy-to-power ratio situation. Hydrogen having a low volumetric energy density, requires to be either compressed to high pressure, liquefied or combined with other elements acting as hydrogen carriers. Amongst all possibilities, ammonia is a carbon-free and dispatchable energy carrier allowing to store large quantities of renewable electricity. It is a primary candidate to allow a secure and clean supply of renewable energy for various stationary or mobile applications and with ability to provide a wide range of energy storage services using existing infrastructures and both well-defined regulation and acceptable safety history for over 75 years. However, technical challenges remain to be overcome in order to ensure a flexible and cost competitive production of ammonia from intermittent renewable electricity sources. In addition to that, efficient energy discharge processes from NH3 must be developed in order to best leverage the clean energy produced upstream by the renewable asset.



ARENHA will demonstrate the full power-to-ammonia-to-usage value chain at TRL 5 and the outstanding potential of green ammonia to address the issue of large-scale energy storage through LCA, sociological survey, techno-economic analysis deeply connected with multiscale modelling. For this purpose, breakthrough technologies will be developed and integrated along the overall value chain. The main technical objectives on material and system level are the following:

  • to develop and integrate innovative solid oxide cell materials into a flexible high temperature electrolysis demonstration unit producing 1.5 Nm3/hr hydrogen at ambient pressure to be connected on a real PV plant.
  • to develop and integrate innovative materials into a synthesis loop enabling to operate a flexible Haber Bosch production unit of 10 kgNH3/day at lower pressure (<50 bar) and temperature (<450 °C).
  • to develop and integrate innovative materials into a decomposition reactor able to generate 10 Nm3/hr of pure hydrogen (>99.99%) from green ammonia.
  • to develop and test innovative materials and solutions for the alternative direct synthesis and utilization of next-generation green ammonia.
  • to demonstrate ammonia as a flexible energy carrier through the development of a fully integrated prototype for green ammonia synthesis and decomposition.
  • to assess the social acceptance, techno-economic-environmental feasibility, and replication potential of the developed value chains. 

Green hydrogen production, ammonia synthesis, ammonia storage and ammonia dehydrogenation

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The ARENHA consortium gathers 11 organisations from 7 countries (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, France, United Kingdom and Spain). The consortium has been set-up in order to form a new complete Ammonia supply chain from European resources :

  • Energy and Transport key players : ENGIE being the number one independent power producer in the world and PSA ID, part of Groupe-PSA, number 2 Europe’s vehicle manufacturer;
  • Hi-tech SMEs, ELCOGEN, Proton Ventures (PV) and HYDROGEN 2 SITE (H2SITE), focused on innovative solutions for hydrogen generation through Solid Oxide Cells, decentralized ammonia production and membrane reactors for hydrogen production and purification, respectively;
  • Top European Research centers (TECNALIA, FhG-IKTS, DTU, STFC and TUE), all with a strong record of research and innovation covering the field of materials, electrolysers, reactors, process design in the ammonia value chain; and iv) Other key organisation such as CNH2 with extensive expertise around hydrogen value chain.

In ARENHA, the total industrial participation is around 45% of the consortium, while innovative SMEs represent 27% of the participants.

Partenaires ARENHA

Work Plan

The project scheduled work plan comprises activities related to the whole value chain and it will be implemented in 48 months. It is broken down in eight work packages following the focus on using ammonia as green hydrogen carrier and for that purpose it develops its main activities around green hydrogen production, ammonia synthesis, ammonia storage and ammonia dehydrogenation. Finally, the novel materials and systems will be integrated into a testing infrastructure combined with an ammonia storage tank for proof of concept and validation to demonstrate the full power-to-ammonia-to usage value chain at TRL 5

Work Programme
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 Contact : Christine Rousselle ⇒

Link to the project site