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Heating our homes with ammonia

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Nuon’s power plant in Eemshaven is being repurposed: in the future, it will run on ammonia. This no-carbon fuel is produced when there’s an excess of solar and wind energy.

Now that the transition to renewable energy is picking up speed, we need to find ways to accommodate the peaks and valleys in our future power supply. Several time scales are at play here. A solution that skims off short-term excesses is not necessarily the best way to handle a multiple-day surplus. And storing excess solar energy in summer for use in winter is another challenge entirely.

The power company Nuon is working with a handful of chemical companies, Delft University of Technology and the University of Twente to solve that last puzzle. The consortium wants to investigate whether Nuon’s gas-fired power plant in the northern city of Eemshaven can be converted into a ‘seasonal battery’, storing excess energy in ammonia that can be burned to generate electricity at times of shortage.

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