23 September 2006

The Ammonia Economy Tries to Displace the Hydrogen Economy

Everyone has heard about the hydrogen economy. Even US President Bush has promoted the hydrogen economy from time to time. But hydrogen is not a practical storage medium/fuel at this time, and will not be for many years. Some people are tired of waiting, and have begun to promote the ammonia economy.

The Hydrogen Engine Center (HEC) of Iowa has made some bold moves in the direction of the ammonia economy. The HEC is making internal combustion engines that run on anhydrous ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia contains more hydrogen by volume than liquid H2, which makes ammonia a potential fuel for fuel cells, once the corrosion problems are solved. Here is a Wired news story describing one recent project using HEC ammonia engines.

Ammonia comes from processing of natural gas and coal, so at this time it is not a renewable form of energy. Nevertheless, for those concerned about carbon emissions, it should be noted that ammonia contains no carbon whatsoever.

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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