Project Activate

Project
ACTIVATE

The main objective of the project is to develop ACTIVATEngine technology which aims to solve the challenges of fuelling an engine with ammonia and burn it efficiently with the evaluation and demonstration in an agricultural demonstration vehicle.

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ACTIVATE
Learn more about the project

The project objectives
are defined as:

Demonstrate a low emission agriculture vehicle driven by a dual fuel ammonia/biodiesel technology
Develop a numerical optimization procedure to enable technology transfer
Provide alternative liquid pilot fuel characterization for potential improvement
Present economic analysis and assess environmental impact of the technology

The specific objectives which need to be investigated while
developing ammonia fuelled vehicle are:

Develop safe and flexible liquid ammonia injection system capable of injections at 250 bar
Determine optimal injection strategy for direct liquid injection
Determine optimal biodiesel injection strategy
Determine optimal intake conditions
Determine
safety guidelines

Industrial need for CO2
how to reduce it?

If we want to face climate crisis, we have to replace fossil fuels with carbon free energy sources. The main issue is dependence of heavy-duty vehicles on power provided by sources like oil or fossil fuels. For sectors like:

  • transportation
  • construction
  • agriculture

there is a need for sustainable, renewable and carbon free energy sources. A promising carbon free fuel is ammonia (NH3).

Ammonia
– key element of green future?

A promising carbon free fuel is ammonia (NH3). It is considered as a chemical storage medium for hydrogen that can be easily stored and transported.

Ammonia has the potential to play a key role in managing energy grids integrated with intermittent and renewable sources by providing a solution to store energy. This proposal aims at introducing ammonia as a primary fuel in agricultural vehicles.

Why focus on the
agricultural sector?

It has been chosen due to its:

icon-share-of-polish-economy@2x

Share of the
Polish economy

icon-food-production@2x

Potential to contribute
 to more sustainable
food production

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due to the existing and extensive distribution network of ammonia being an intermediate product of the fertilizer industry

The agricultural vehicle sector is dominated by the compression ignition (CI) engine and hence, the powertrain employing a CI engine will be examined. 

This project aims at demonstrating the use of ammonia with biodiesel in the agricultural sector as a technology that is:

  • realistic,
  • achievable in the short-term,
  • cost-effective in a transition towards carbon free industry.

The combined application of experimental and numerical optimization is targeted at the development of an overall methodology for retrofitting combustion engines for the use of ammonia. The approach should be applicable to other industry sectors, such as marine or heavy duty and help in making the switch to use of alternative fuels.

 

Research towards the use of ammonia also opens possibilities to creation of new markets and products.

 

Project description
– what is ACTIVATE?

We want to develop technology which can be used for retrofitting existing compression ignition engines for liquified ammonia combustion as the alternative zero CO2 emissions fuel.

Green ammonia?

 Ammonia has the potential to be generated using:

  • renewable resources (green ammonia)
  • in a carbon neutral manner using carbon capture and storage (blue ammonia)

 

The ACTIVATEngine concept will develop a new direct-injection concept for ammonia which is theorized to help improve NH3 engine operation and solve the issue of ammonia slip, bringing the technology to an application-readiness level.

The technology has a great potential to reach the market in the near future and contribute to an immediate CO2 emission reduction. Once a market for ammonia as a fuel and the distribution network is established, ammonia could also be converted to hydrogen in other technology concepts such as fuel cells for smaller vehicles.

New opportunities

and new challenges


Increased worldwide trend in ammonia as a smart energy carrier can be introduced in Polish R&D sector and potentially prepare its market for the new fuel. The current usage of ammonia as an energy carrier is limited, but its high hydrogen content and carbon free nature result in large potential to replace hydrocarbons. 

5 work packages

The project has been divided into 5 work packages (WPs) with an
industrial research phase and an experimental development phase:

Wp 1 Ammonia compression ignition characterisation
Wp 2 Technology development for ammonia combustion
Wp 3 Simulations and optimisation of ammonia-based combustion system for a CI engine
wp 4 Sustainability and profitability of the technology
wp 5 Demonstration of the technology

WP 1

Fuel
characterization

WP lead:

  • Optimal fuel ratios
  • Emission characteristics

WP 2


Lab
scale experiments

WP lead:

  • Engine fueling technology
  • ACTIVATEngine technology testing
  • Safety strategy

WP 4

Sustainability
and
profitability

WP lead:

  • Life cycle inventory
  • LCA and its interpretation
  • Cumulative thermo-ecological analysis (TEC)
  • Exergo-economic analysis

WP 5


Technology
demonstration

WP lead:

  • Aplication of the fuel / technology
  • Sustainability and profits

WP 3


Numerical
Optimization

WP lead:

  • Optimal operation conditions
  • Engine geometry

Combined efforts

The experiments targeting the fuel and the ones targeting retrofitting the diesel engine will be accompanied by a numerical study of operating parameters.

The numerical procedure will be built using data collected in the experiments, which will then feedback numerically optimized fuel injection strategies, mixture formation and operating conditions to the experimental engines in the lab.

Tests on
demonstration unit

The knowledge and experience gained during WP1 and WP2 will be used in WP5 where developed technology will be presented in operational condition reaching TRL 7.

During the field test, the functionality of all devices will be monitored under practical relevant conditions. Ammonia sensors will be installed to monitor sensitive areas of the installation for possible ammonia leakages using the same strategy as developed in the industrial research phase.

During the technology transfer to the demonstrator, numerical models will be used to fine tune the engine performance and in the fuel lab alternative pilot fuels will be tested. This will result in a working demonstrator vehicle and highlight possible future improvements.

The developed numerical procedure will provide a new, general tool that can be applied to retrofit and optimize engines exterior to this project. All of findings of the industrial research stage will be combined and used to develop the real vehicle powered by ammonia/biodiesel mixture.

More about us

Our cooperation was possible thanks to Norway grants which funded 85% of project budget and to Polish government which supported project by funding 15% of total budget.

Thanks to them, it was possible for us to arrange our consortium which is combination of some very talented and highly specialised crews from:

Silesian University of  Technology

Norwegian University of  Science and Technology

LOGE Polska Sp. z o.o.

University of Agriculture in Krakow

ACTIVATE project implementation
started 4 months ago

News

The members of W2 have attended the 9th International Congress...

Member of our project and Steering Committee, Michał Lewandowski, engaged...

The numerical simulations focused on the development of combustion technology...

The Report on Operational characteristics for the target agricultural vehicle...

Development of optimal diesel and ammonia injections strategy is supported...