“While our process is not yet optimised, we estimate that an ammonia decomposition reactor no bigger than a two-litre bottle will provide enough hydrogen to run a mid-range family car. “
A new technique for producing hydrogen from ammonia could allow for a new generation of clean, green vehicle fuels. Energy researchers at the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council have developed a way of turning ammonia into hydrogen that’s far cheaper than previous methods.
While hydrogen is an excellent fuel source, and totally carbon-free, it’s difficult to store on board a vehicle in a safe and efficient manner — just ask the pilots of the Hindenburg. Converting existing fossil fuel infrastructure to hydrogen is also an expensive and complex task.
Ammonia has been eyed as a possible solution to both of those problems for some time. The gas could be stored on board vehicles at low pressures in plastic tanks, and delivered in a petrol station through the same infrastructure used for traditional fuel.
But turning that ammonia into hydrogen, a process known as “cracking”, has always been tricky. The best catalysts, which accelerate the process, are very expensive precious metals. The team’s breakthrough came from using two simultaneous chemical processes in place of that catalyst — achieving the same result at a fraction of the cost.
The Latest on: Hydrogen from ammonia
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The Latest on: Hydrogen from ammonia
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