Tag Archives: Modular Ammonia

Scale up and Scale Down Issues of Renewable Ammonia Plants: Towards Modular Design

Antonio Sánchez, Mariano Martin*, University of Salamanca, Spain

15th Annual NH3 Fuel Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, October 31, 2018
NH3 Energy+ Topical Conference at the AIChE Annual Meeting


Renewable sources of energy such as biomass, solar, wind or geothermal just to mention some of the most widely extended are characterized by a highly distributed production across regions (EPA, 2017). Total renewable energy available is more than enough to provide for society needs, but the traditional production paradigm is changing. Economies of scale have featured current industry and its infrastructures based on large production complexes (i.e Dow, Exxonmobil or BASF hubs). The well-known six tenths rule has extensively been used in the chemical industry to scale up or down the cost of technologies. This rule is suitable for large chemical complexes, where economies of scale are a critical point. However, distributed production completely changes this paradigm. Distributed production corresponds to the production at small scales (Pepermans et al., 2005). This new production scheme results in the use of a number of individual units so that the cost is no longer a continuous function. The step forward is modularization of chemical plants. The plants will be built in the form of modulus that are easily assembled at any place to make the most of distributed resources (Baldea, 2017). The advantages of these plants are straightforward, easy and quick deployment and low investment risk to exploit resources even in remote places. However, the disadvantages must be also considered including the environmental impact of the transportation of the plants and of the products (EPA, 2017). Continue reading