Ammonia, the Fuel of the Future by ProQuest


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									                                                                                       ane liquefies at -162°C.) The emission
     W o r l d    T r e n d s        &      F o r e c a s t s                          byproduct is nitrogen, not carbon.
                                                                                       Nitrogen already comprises 78% of
                                                                                       the atmosphere, so mass emission of

                                                                                       nitrogen wouldn’t have the same cli-
                                                                                       mate-changing effects as mass emis-
                                                                                       sions of carbon or sulfur.
                                                                                          Ammonia could theoretically be
                                                                                       burned in a big, powerful fuel cell,
                                                                                       or even a big, powerful internal com-
Ammonia, the Fuel of the Future                                                        bustion engine, indoors where a CO2-
Hydrogen fuel cells could get a boost from an unexpected source.                       emitting engine would foul the air.
                                                                                       Like hydrogen, it’s lighter than air

                                                                                       and would dissipate in a leak —
           hat will your car run on in                                                 but unlike hydrogen, much less gas-
                                                         By J. Storrs Hall
           2020? Here’s a solution you                                                 oline, ammonia is not even combus-
           likely haven’t heard yet:                                                   tible under ordinary conditions.
ammonia. Sometimes called “the                                                            This solution is not without its
other hydrogen,” ammonia as a fuel            gave significant support to hydrogen     risks. Ammonia is a deadly chemical.
source would present the benefits of          fuel cell development and produc-        At 2,500 parts per million, exposure
hydrogen without the major difficul-          tion. Hydrogen is very light and         to ammonia causes laryngeal spasm
ties of handling. Despite its recent          fairly safe. Since it’s lighter than                   and rapid asphyxia,
reputation for impracticality, hydro-         air, it dissipates in a leak, rather
gen is still among the best fuels for         than forming an explo-                                         BEN MILLS / FORESIGHT INSTITUTE

clean, quiet, efficient fuel cells.           sive mixture.
   First, a look at the alternatives, the       Problemati-
most notable of which is gasoline.            cally, hydro-
The demise of petroleum has been              gen needs to
predicted early and often, so it              be stored at
would be foolish to dismiss it out of         very low tem-
hand. But climate concerns and scar-          peratures and
city of oil cast a cloud over its future.     high pres-
Not even the big oil companies seem           sures. It’s diffi-
to believe that i
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