We departed from Detroit, MI on July 31st 2007 and Ended up in San Francisco. CA a few days later
Q: What is ammonia?
A: Ammonia is simply Hydrogen and Nitrogen (NH3). Notice there is no carbon (C) in “NH3”. That means when you burn ammonia, it cannot release carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or other greenhouse pollutants.
Q: Why use ammonia for a vehicle fuel?
A: Ammonia is one of the few practical liquid high-energy density non-petroleum fuels that we will ever have. The laws of physics and chemistry limit the ways in which we can transfer energy efficiently. Ammonia is one of the few chemical compounds which is a liquid, rapidly releases energy in combustion and has a high energy density by volume. All of these parameters are needed for powering vehicles in a practical manner. And as wonderful added bonus, ammonia generates no greenhouse gases or carbon particulate emissions.
Q: Where do you get Ammonia?
A: Ammonia occurs naturally only in very small amounts. Almost all ammonia is manufactured. Most people are surprised to find out that ammonia is the 4th largest manufactured and transported commodity in the United States. This is because ammonia is used for fertilizer for growing many of the foods here and around the world. Because so much ammonia is used by farmers everywhere, ammonia is available almost everywhere. On the trip across the US, the NH3 Car “filled up” just once at welding supply store in Wyoming, about half way between Detroit and San Francisco.
Q: What is needed to manufacture ammonia?
A: Ammonia can be made from air, water and a source of energy. Nitrogen from the air, and hydrogen from the water. Really!
Q: Can ammonia be made from renewable or “green” energy sources?
A: Yes. This is one of the huge benefits of ammonia as a fuel. You can’t make crude oil or gasoline at any price. When it’s gone, it’s gone forever. But ammonia can be manufactured from any source of energy including great renewables like hydro-electric, solar or wind power! And manufacturing ammonia does not involve shifting vast quantities of land from producing food to producing plants for biofuels.
Q: What are the emissions from a converted ammonia fueled vehicle?
A: The emissions from the burned ammonia are nitrogen and water vapor. When operated dual fuel, the gasoline or other hydrocarbon may still generate a small amount of CO and CO2, etc. However, this emission is typically reduced by roughly 60 to 70%.
Q: Is ammonia Dangerous?
A: All fuels and energy sources, including even charged batteries have some potential hazard associated with them. However, ammonia will not explode like gasoline, natural gas or hydrogen. In fact, it is difficult to get ammonia to burn, even though it makes an excellent fuel for cars and trucks. Ammonia vehicle fueling and storage takes place safely without any human access to the ammonia liquid or gas, just like the fueling process for natural gas vehicles. Also, ammonia does not represent a long term toxin to cellular biology, whereas gasoline is quite poisonous. Ammonia is classified as a caustic substance, which means inhaling it
or getting it on your skin isn't healthy, but overall it is far less dangerous than gasoline.
Q: Is ammonia a liquid or a gas?
A: Ammonia quickly turns to a gas when exposed to air. But ammonia is easily and indefinitely stored as a liquid at about 150 PSI , a very low pressure which doesn’t require special high pressure tanks like hydrogen.
Q: How does ammonia use compare to natural gas?
A: Ammonia contains no carbon and releases no green house gases, but natural gas does. So, although natural gas is somewhat cleaner than gasoline, its use still releases green house gases in significant quantities. And one day natural gas will run out and there won’t be any more, but ammonia can always be manufactured.
Q: How does ammonia use compare to Hydrogen as a fuel?
A: Although hydrogen has received a lot of press recently, it has several fundamental technical problems which will always dramatically limit its practical rollout for vehicular use on a broad scale. These problems are not limited to the fact that hydrogen’s energy density is a tiny fraction of that of ammonia by volume. This means that you’d have to refuel your hydrogen vehicle as much as 7 times as often to go the same distance on hydrogen as you would using ammonia. Hydrogen must also be stored at very high pressures (ie. 10,000 PSI), or at very low cryogenic temperatures. Both high pressure storage and cryogenic storage require significant additional power input, further reducing hydrogen’s energy efficiency. In fact, when we burn ammonia, we're actually burning hydrogen, since that's the element in ammonia that combusts and provides the energy.