Ammonia Storage Method Tested For Hydrogen Cars

Researchers in Australia believe they may have come up with a way to safely store and transport hydrogen that avoids that whole ‘Hindenburg disaster” problem.

They have pioneered a membrane that combines hydrogen and nitrogen to make ammonia, then it can separate the gases back again for use of hydrogen as fuel. The creators believe their invention opens up the possibility of generating large quantities of hydrogen and transporting it safely as ammonia to waiting customers who want the performance of a gasoline powered vehicle without the guilt of burning hydrocarbons. More


22 Comments on Ammonia Storage Method Tested For Hydrogen Cars

  1. Well, I will believe it when I see it.
    I grasp the concept, but my radar is pinging in the BS zone.
    Somehow I smell a waft of FAKE NEWS.
    You know, the stench you smell when CNN is playing at the airports.

  2. Still the issue of spillage in a crash – Ammonia in large quantities can present a hazmat situation.

  3. Don’t care, just take the damn alcohol out of my gas and put it in the liquor bottles where it belongs.

  4. Just like Buggy Whip makers and whale oil lighting, the internal combustion engine will pass into history. It will take another hundred years, though.
    Progress moves in fits and starts with long plateaus in between.
    This is one more step in Materials Science.
    Necessity is the Mother of Invention
    Materials Science is the Daddy

  5. So… For “safety” they’re going to “extract” hydrogen. To bind with nitrogen. Making ammonia.

    Then… Having ammonia. “But” wanting a vehicle fuel. They’re going to crack the ammonia into hydrogen. (And dump the nitrogen).

    Uh.. I mean, they do know…

    Forget it Croc. It’s Ozzyland.

  6. Ammonia – NH3

    Three Hydogens for each Nitrogen.
    Nitrogen has atomic number 14.
    Hydrogen has atomic number 1.

    So, for every lb. of Ammonia you get (~) 14 oz. of Nitrogen and 2 oz. of Hydrogen? Some Chemistry guy help a brother out.
    Sounds like you’d have to carry a shit-load of Ammonia.

    I’m not a Chemist, but it sounds like there’s a monkey in the wrench.

    izlamo delenda est …

  7. Lots of empty wordiness in that article, but not much in the way of actual usable information. If I got it right, the idea is to use renewable energy to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere with hydrogen from (*mumble*mumble*) to make NH3 ammonia. Then transport the ammonia long distances to specialized filling stations that use the new membrane tech to split the ammonia back into nitrogen to be exhausted back into the atmosphere and hydrogen to be put into vehicle fuel tanks.

    The vehicles won’t have ammonia tanks. They will have hydrogen tanks. If I got this wrong, somebody please correct me.

    So now we still have moving vehicles with pressurized fuel tanks full of hydrogen. I suppose they may be safe enough, but pressurized flammable gas is inherently more dangerous than unpressurized flammable liquid. I’ve got a bad feeling about crashes with such vehicles.

    Then there’s this:

    Dr Dolan said the cost for the fuel would be around $15 a kilogram, with an average car holding five kilos of pure hydrogen in a tank.

    “But the efficiency of the car is twice as good as current gasoline cars, so you can actually drive twice as far on a tank,” he said.

    Five kilos is 11 pounds. If hydrogen is by weight twice as energetic as gasoline, that’s the equivalent of 22 pounds of gasoline. Gasoline is about seven pounds per gallon, so that 22 lbs of H will run your car a little farther than three gallons of gasoline. So where the Hell do they get that 800 kilometer (roughly 500 mile) range from?

    Hooey. Lots and lots of hooey.

    EDIT: It’s been a long day and I’m tired and may not be thinking straight, but if I’m not thinking straight I wouldn’t be able to see that I’m not thinking straight, would I?

  8. @ Uncle Al ~ damn straight!

    I’ve got a bad feeling about crashes with such vehicles.
    no worries … just like all that leakage from batteries in electric car crashes & the fact that fire foam doesn’t combat ethanol either …. we’re ‘saving the planet’, don’t cha know? … I feel hypocritically better already!

  9. The sudden release of an amount of pressurized hydrogen sufficient to move a ton or two of automobile 500 miles into an atmosphere that is, what, 21% oxygen, then introduce a spark, results in a close-to-instantaneous release of all that chemical energy.

    You may have heard of this type of thing. The general term is thermobaric explosion. The specific term in the news a few years back is MOAB, or Mother of All Bombs. This class of weapon releases more energy than anything else short of fission or thermonuclear bombs.

    Now, a highway vehicle wouldn’t be carrying the same amount of fuel as a military bomb, but the bang would be big. Ruptured gasoline tanks will burn like crazy but in most cases don’t go bang really loud (it’s the fuel vapor in the tank that explodes, not the liquid fuel). The difference is the length of time for the chemical energy to be converted to thermal/kinetic energy. It’s a fraction of a second for hydrogen/air, and many seconds up to many minutes for gasoline when we’re talking about vehicle fuel tank amounts.

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