We continue our listing of Frequently asked questions. Now questions 9 through 17. Questions 1 through 9 were posted on January 4th 2014.
A re-cap of what N2 Applied AS is all about – as of January 2014.
9. What is new in N2’s ambition, compared with what Professor Birkeland and Norsk Hydro did in 1905?
N2’s ambition is to use today’s knowledge of plasma and materials to develop a process able to make the same product using 90% less energy. Our initial ambition is not to go for industrial scale production of Nitric Acid, but to develop small scale units suitable for todays value chain.
From 1905 to 1920, the research in the field concluded that the theoretical minimum energy requirement would be 70 GJ/tN and the practical minimum would be 130 GJ/tN. Today we know that the theoretical minimum input energy is 20 GJ/tN and practical obtainable is about 36GJ/tN. With 100% heat recovery, the theoretical lowest energy consumption is 6,4 GJ/tN.
Birkeland’s technology succeeded in moving the arc through a large volume of air making plasma, the disc. He further managed to quench the plasma with air on its way through the reactor, keeping the outlet temperature below 1000 Kelvin.
10. With whom are N2 Applied partnering and collaborating?
N2 is partnering with SBI, an innovative plasma welding company based in Hollarunn, Austria. N2 and SBI are further using the competence of the University of Vienna for analysis of plasma composition and temperatures.
N2 is further collaborating with Acona and SINTEF in developing numerical modelling techniques, in spreadsheets and CFD tools.
11. What other applications are suitable for the technology – in addition to at farm production of fertilizer?
There are numerous possible applications. Below are some of the most obvious ones.
- The technology can in a similar way be used in upgrading the bio rest from municipal and organic waste treatment plants and bio-gas plants.
- The technology can also be used in liquid fertilizers to upgrade Ammonia/Urea with Nitrate, dissolve Phosphates, and control pH to avoid scaling.
- The technology can further be used to boost landlocked process plants where NO gas or Nitric Acid is an intermediate.
- The technology can also be used to suppress bad smell and formation of H2S.
- Nitric Acid is a valuable chemical, and its application is very often limited by risky and costly logistics. Our technology will facilitate the use of Nitric Acid.
12. What is the most likely first application for the technology?
The most likely application is an installation at an industrial farm where bio-gas, wind and solar power is installed. The technology will enable the utilization of periodically low cost power, reduce smell and upgrade the bio-rest and open for a broader spreading area.
13. Why is the utilization of solar power seen as favorable?
The installation of renewable solar power as a base load is creating a power market where the periodic marginal cost of electrical power is dropping and even going negative. The market is today asking for low capital swing producers or consumers to even out the tops and the bottoms.
14. What is the relationship between N2 and Yara – both being Norwegian and all?
Yara and N2 is maintaining an open dialog, over the facts and potential as described on this web site. Yara has no formal rights or claims to the technology.
15. What will it cost to install a nitrogen production unit at a farm?
The equipment cost of a 100 kw unit able to produce 100 tonn N per year will be in the range of 100.000 Euro. Installation cost will depend on the location and scope of the application.
16. When will the farmer be able to install his first unit?
The first prototype will be tested 2nd Quarter 2014. After tuning and optimization in 2014-2015, the first generation unit will be available in 2016.
17. In which geography will the technology find its first customer?
The most likely first customer will be a landlocked industrial farm in the US or EU. The main market is however highly populated area with limited access to natural gas. Typically India and China as well as regions in Africa.