Category Archives: NH3 News

Ammonia is a genuine contender, perhaps the contender, for carbon-free energy

From this morning’s Financial Times, calling for far greater public investment in clean R&D:

… According to academics from the University College London and the University of Oxford/Rutherford Appleton Laboratory some extremely promising clean technologies like ammonia are currently being overlooked …

“Because ammonia not only offers practical ways to tackle many of their articulated challenges but also has a profoundly important track record for enabling innovation at about the scale required. Ammonia is a genuine contender, perhaps the contender, for carbon-free energy that competes with fossil fuels …

“The sun provides roughly 5,000 times our global energy requirement and innovative uses of ammonia can open up greater access to that energy, with solutions that range from massive energy storage for grid-balancing intermittent renewable energy production to the zero-carbon provision of energy for transportation. Decriers will say that ammonia is not safe, but petrol, hydrogen and batteries all have their safety issues. And surely “safe ammonia” is an achievable challenge.

“Importantly, ammonia addresses all three neglected R&D areas that King and colleagues identify. It targets the base-load generation challenge for renewables, and, in addition to technology road mapping, can tackle the incentives and consequences that otherwise stop or delay good innovation.”

But really, at the end of the day, whether government and private enterprise work together or against each other, nothing may be more important than introducing some kind of competitive “arms race” factor into the scenario.

Consider in that regard not only the successes of the Manhattan Project and the Apollo missions, but also the human genome project, an international effort to sequence the human genome, which was completed much earlier than expected precisely because of the inadvertent oneupmanship sparked by a private-public race to the finish line.

The quote is from a group of British academics including Bill David, who contributed to two technical papers at the 2014 NH3 Fuel Conference (“Investigating and Understanding Ionic Ammine Materials” and “A novel approach to ammonia decomposition,” both available on this site).

Read the full FT article here.

New Scientist: Grab ammonia out of thin air for fuel of the future

New Scientist, August 6, 2013

AS VITAL chemicals go, it’s hard to beat ammonia. Industrial production began in the early 20th century, and it played a key role in the second world war and in two Nobel prizes. It brought about a global revolution in agriculture – today, crops grown using ammonia-based fertilisers feed no less than 48 per cent of the planet. Could ammonia also be the clean fuel of the future?

Continue reading at New Scientist.

New Scientist – Look to the past for the fuel of the future

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…

Continue reading at New Scientist.

The AmVeh – an ammonia fueled car from South Korea

South Korean researchers have successfully road-tested a dual fuel passenger car that runs on a mixture of ammonia and gasoline. It is called the AmVeh and was developed by members of the Ammonia Research Group at the Korean Institute for Energy Research (KIER).

Ammonia-gasoline dual fuel, and pure ammonia engines
AmVeh, Korean Institute for Energy ResearchThe prototype vehicle uses a fuel ratio of 70% ammonia to 30% gasoline to power a spark ignition engine. As ammonia contains no carbon, this fuel ratio results in a corresponding 70% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, compared to pure gasoline.

The AmVeh team is now focused on improving the fuel system and the exhaust after-treatment system. Once these are optimized, they aim to develop an engine system that runs on ammonia alone, without any support from gasoline. The emissions from this carbon-free vehicle would be pure water and nitrogen.

The engine system demonstrated in the AmVeh would enable conventional vehicles to be converted to ammonia fuel. Continue reading

Ammonia fueled sports car: Marangoni Toyota GT86 Eco Explorer

Marangoni Toyota GT86 Eco Explorer

The Marangoni Toyota GT86 Eco Explorer

A new sports car that uses ammonia fuel is touring the motor shows of Europe.

The Marangoni Toyota GT-86 Eco-Explorer is an ammonia / gasoline hybrid, designed by Italian tyre-maker Marangoni, which claims 111 miles of zero-emission driving from one tank of ammonia.

The Eco Explorer was first shown at the Geneva Motor Show (March 7-17) in Switzerland, and then at the Gadget Show Live in the UK (April 3-7) and Top Marques in Monaco (April 18-21). Its next stop is Tuning World Bodensee in Friedrichshafen, Germany (May 9-12).

From Marangoni’s Eco Explorer microsite, which features extensive photographs and an atmospheric video: Continue reading

Project Alkammonia: Ammonia-fed Alkaline Fuel Cells

The project to commercialize ammonia-fed fuel cells for stationary power generation continues to gather momentum in Europe, under the title “Project Alkammonia“.

This follows last year’s field trials of Diverse Energy’s PowerCube technology in Africa, and AFC Energy’s subsequent acquisition of assets from Diverse Energy (equipment and IP) and further project funding.

Project ALKAMMONIA will integrate three innovative and proven technologies: a highly efficient and low-cost alkaline fuel cell system, a highly efficient fuel processing system and a novel ammonia fuel system. The integrated system will be rigorously tested and the results shared with leading telecommunication end-users.”

PowerCube

Diverse Energy: “The PowerCube is a self-contained, 24/7, baseload power solution … it offers an 80% CO2 reduction and a 25% reduction in total cost of ownership with a 2-year return on investment.”

The initial business model aims to provide clean power for mobile radio masts (remote base transceiver stations), and the technology can provide uninterruptible power or act as a back-up for intermittent renewables, as described in Diverse Energy’s field trial report [.doc download]: Continue reading

Renewable Ammonia from Biomass: SynGest, BioNitrogen, Agrebon

Renewable ammonia producer SynGest is now featured on the Fueling Growth website, which aims to show “How clean fuel companies are fueling economic growth in California and beyond.” Fueling Growth is a project of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

SynGest uses a process to convert biomass to nitrogen fertilizer, and is “focused on replacing the fossil fuel energy used in agriculture with entirely sustainable and renewable alternatives.”

Fueling Growth’s video interview with SynGest CEO, Jack Oswald

“We are right on the cusp of rolling out, on a large scale, billions and billions of gallons of truly low carbon renewable fuels. SynGest takes renewable biomass … and we convert that into nitrogen fertilizer products. We are just about to embark on building our first commercial scale plant, and that’ll be the first domino of what will be hundreds of these plants within the United States.” Continue reading