New Scientist, August 7, 2013
IN NOVEMBER 1942, Belgium’s public bus system ground to a halt, crippled by a wartime shortage of diesel.
The standstill caused chaos. Engineers at the country’s public transport company got to work and by April 1943 the service was up and running again. They had adapted about 100 buses to run on an alternative fuel – liquid ammonia, pumped into tanks on the buses’ roofs.
The experiment was short-lived, but it proved the point that ammonia – plus a small amount of coal gas to help combustion – could be used as a transport fuel.
Seventy years later, ammonia may be ready to ride to the rescue again…
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