New JV to produce ammonia cracker reactors for decarbonization

Sustainable energy

United KingdomUK Government funded Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Reaction Engines, and IP Group have launched a joint venture technology business to produce lightweight and small ammonia cracker reactors for use in difficult-to-decarbonize sectors.

The new joint venture will design and market lightweight and compact ammonia reactors, enabling the use of ammonia as a zero-carbon fuel in transport applications such as aviation and marine shipping, as well as other difficult-to-decarbonize applications such as power generation, particularly stranded grids or ‘off grid’ applications. The ammonia will be catalytically cracked into an easy-to-combust fuel for gas turbines and internal combustion engines by the reactor.

The collaboration will bring together Reaction Engines’ heat exchanger technology created for its SABRE engine and now employed in various technology applications, STFC’s leading expertise in creating ammonia catalyst technology, and IP Group’s fundraising and venture-building skills.

Fully decarbonizing transportation, particularly long-distance travel, remains one of the most difficult technological problems to overcome as countries strive to achieve a net-zero economy. Beyond present maritime and aviation fuels, the ideal future would be a carbon-free replacement that duplicates all of the important propulsion attributes of existing carbon-based fuels. Ammonia and hydrogen, when properly combined using the new joint venture’s revolutionary lightweight cracker technology, can be the carbon-free solution that meets the issues of difficult-to-abate industries such as aviation and maritime.

Ammonia, which has a higher volumetric energy density than hydrogen and can be utilized with hydrogen as a zero-carbon alternative for other carbon-based fuels, is a product that is currently widely transported and stored internationally.

As part of STFC’s active support for new ideas, the joint venture technology company is advancing IP developed with STFC proof-of-concept funding. The partnership began with the Harwell Energytec Cluster and was initially sponsored through the STFC cross-cluster proof of concept.

IP Group will provide initial seed equity capital for the joint venture, which will collaborate closely with Reaction Engines and STFC to design and commercialize each company’s intellectual property.