Starfire Energy, a Colorado-based developer of modular chemical plants for the carbon-free production of ammonia and hydrogen, has closed a major funding round. The investment round was led by AP Ventures, a significant investor in breakthrough hydrogen technologies, and included New Energy Technologies, Chevron Technology Ventures, Osaka Gas USA, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Proceeds will be used to advance the development of commercial-scale applications to decarbonize ammonia production and unlock its potential as a zero-carbon energy carrier.
Ammonia offers an energy density comparable to fossil fuels and significantly higher than Li-ion batteries and compressed or liquid hydrogen. It can be stored and transported inexpensively and easily, leveraging established infrastructure and shipping networks, and is regulated by well-developed codes and standards. Ammonia can be used directly as a fuel or it can be cracked, and its hydrogen harvested to provide a stable and efficient means of hydrogen storage and transportation.
Conventional ammonia production has a significant carbon footprint. Using natural gas feedstock, the production of ammonia emits two tonnes of carbon dioxide for every one tonne of ammonia produced. Starfire Energy leverages a patented catalysis technology that allows for the synthesis and cracking of carbon-free ammonia and hydrogen-leveraging renewable energy sources.
Starfire Energy’s Rapid Ramp NH3 ammonia synthesis technology produces zero carbon ammonia using only renewable energy, air, and water as inputs. Unlike traditional Haber-Bosch designs the RapidRamp process can accommodate being directly powered by intermittent energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro.
The process can scale back to a zero capacity factor and rapidly scale right back to 100% or anywhere in between. This allows for the synthesis of documentably 100% green ammonia.
The modular solution is sized to connect directly with renewable energy production, providing a scalable, distributed source of zero-carbon ammonia. Starfire Energy is currently commercializing a 50 tonne/day modular green ammonia plant.
The company has also developed the Prometheus Carbon-free Fire, a system to crack ammonia back into hydrogen providing an efficient means of green hydrogen storage and transportation.
Starfire’s plants will provide carbon-free fuel to power utility gas turbines and largeships; process heat for industries such as steel and cement; and fuel for fuel-cell vehicles. The modular plants are mass-produced and assembled onsite for maximum reliability and quality along with low and repeatable costs.
We are excited to be leading this pivotal round for Starfire Energy. As an established investor in the hydrogen industry, we understand the critical role green ammonia will play in decarbonizing chemical and industry value chains. Starfire’s modular synthesis and cracking technology is uniquely positioned, and we look forward to supporting the business in its development and commercialization. We are also pleased to collaborate with Starfire on system deployments in South Africa, where there is a promising emerging market for innovative zero carbon technologies.—Andrew Hinkly, Managing Partner at AP Ventures