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Title: Energy Storage

Energy storage technology is critical if the U.S. is to achieve more than 25% penetration of renewable electrical energy, given the intermittency of wind and solar. Energy density is a critical parameter in the economic viability of any energy storage system with liquid fuels being 10 to 100 times better than batteries. However, the economical conversion of electricity to fuel still presents significant technical challenges. This project addressed these challenges by focusing on a specific approach: efficient processes to convert electricity, water and nitrogen to ammonia. Ammonia has many attributes that make it the ideal energy storage compound. The feed stocks are plentiful, ammonia is easily liquefied and routinely stored in large volumes in cheap containers, and it has exceptional energy density for grid scale electrical energy storage. Ammonia can be oxidized efficiently in fuel cells or advanced Carnot cycle engines yielding water and nitrogen as end products. Because of the high energy density and low reactivity of ammonia, the capital cost for grid storage will be lower than any other storage application. This project developed the theoretical foundations of N2 catalysis on specific catalysts and provided for the first time experimental evidence for activation of Mo 2N based catalysts.more » Theory also revealed that the N atom adsorbed in the bridging position between two metal atoms is the critical step for catalysis. Simple electrochemical ammonia production reactors were designed and built in this project using two novel electrolyte systems. The first one demonstrated the use of ionic liquid electrolytes at room temperature and the second the use of pyrophosphate based electrolytes at intermediate temperatures (200 – 300 ºC). The mechanism of high proton conduction in the pyrophosphate materials was found to be associated with a polyphosphate second phase contrary to literature claims and ammonia production rates as high as 5X 10-8 mol/s/cm2 were achieved.« less
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States