The transport sector produces harmful emissions that cause climate change and have significant detrimental health effects. To rid these emissions, ammonia (NH3) may become the fuel of the future for ships, trains and other heavy transport vehicles. Big open questions are, amongst others: "what is the best way to produce electricity from ammonia on board?" and "how can one optimally use ammonia for mobility purposes, for emergency power in e.g. hospitals, or as storage medium for hydrogen?". These questions are difficult for a number of reasons, but the AmmoniaDrive project will attempt to produce a comprehensive set of answers. In particular, the goal is to find out whether a combination of a so-called Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) constitutes an efficient, clean, affordable and safe solution for the transformation of the transport sector. The PhD position associated with this part of AmmoniaDrive is dedicated to the techno-economics of ammonia as energy carrier or storage medium.What are you going to do
You will undertake learning curve analysis, building, first of all, on existing work in this domain, such as learning curve research for solar PV (Haegel et al., 2017), learning phenomena studied for solid oxide fuel cells (Rivera-Tinoco et al., 2012), and analysis on the relationship between the learning rate and unit size and/or scaling (Sweerts et al., 2020). You will update and improve the learning curve for SOFCs, so as to inform on the costs of an important component of the overall AmmoniaDrive system. In parallel, the PhD will also determine the levelized costs of ammonia production (LCON) and investigate to what extent these costs may decline in the future as a result of learning phenomena. For this purpose, you will thus attempt to determine a learning curve for NH3 production on the basis of historic cost and capacity data. More broadly, you will investigate the use of ammonia as fuel, energy carrier and/or hydrogen storage medium, with a special focus on the techno-economic dimension thereof, either through technology assessments or by integrated energy systems analysis.You will/tasks:
- Undertake techno-economic research on ammonia as fuel in the transport sector.
- Update and improve the relevant learning curves, for instance for solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs).
- Develop learning curves for NH3 production: levelized cost of ammonia production (LCON).
- Determine the costs of the AmmoniaDrive system, including the combustion part (ICE/EM, SCR).
- Assess the overall potential system cost reductions, and, for example, the impact of CO2 taxation.
- Investigate the role of financing on system costs, e.g. impact of the interest rate on LCON.