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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number STFC/ED11231
Title Ammonia on-farm : Life cycle assessment of different ammonia uses on a farm
Status Completed
Energy Categories Energy Efficiency(Residential and commercial) 25%;
Energy Efficiency(Transport) 25%;
Renewable Energy Sources(Bio-Energy, Production of other biomass-derived fuels (incl. Production from wastes)) 25%;
Renewable Energy Sources(Bio-Energy, Production of transport biofuels (incl. Production from wastes)) 25%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields BIOLOGICAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (Biological Sciences) 25%;
BIOLOGICAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science) 25%;
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 50%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Environmental dimensions) 50%;
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Ricardo AEA Limited
Award Type Feasibility Study
Funding Source STFC
Start Date 01 January 2018
End Date 30 April 2018
Duration 4 months
Total Grant Value £14,500
Total Project Value £14,500
Industrial Sectors Technical Consultancy
Region South East
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Ricardo AEA Limited (100.000%)
Web Site

Executive summary

Using life cycle assessment, this study compared three uses of ammonia produced via a Haber-Bosch facility on a remote farm in Scotland. The three ammonia uses compared in this study are:

  • Aqueous ammonia fertiliser
  • Ammonia vehicle fuel
  • Ammonia CHP

These uses were compared with traditional alternatives:

  • Urea fertiliser
  • Diesel tractor
  • Natural gas CHP


The study found that aqueous ammonia fertiliser provided the largest environmental benefit out of the three ammonia uses. While ammonia vehicle fuel and ammonia CHP were found to provide environmental benefits across most indicators, in some areas the traditional alternative was preferred. This was not the case for ammonia fertiliser.

Normalising the systems impacts in terms of European People Equivalents (EPE), suggests that marine ecotoxicity is the key indicator, since impacts on this indicator amounted to many more EPEs than the other indicators.

Sensitivity analysis into soil type and alternative fertilisers served to reinforce aqueous ammonias environmental credentials.

The studys farm was found to have production capacity that exceeded its fertiliser need. An assessment examining whether to export excess aqueous ammonia or use ammonia for CHP and vehicle fuel revealed that both systems delivered a net environmental benefit across all indicators.

However, it is this studys conclusion that the export scenario is preferred since it delivers a marine ecotoxicity benefit equivalent to -1,000EPEs compared to -438EPEs in the no export scenario. A transport burden greater than the length of Scotland is required for the no export scenario to deliver a larger marine ecotoxicity benefit.

Publications Ricardo-AE A Ltd (2018) Ammonia on-farm - Life cycle assessment of different ammonia uses on a farm . Ref: ED11231- Issue Number 1_1. 44pp (PDF 1615 KB)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 20/07/18