Alternative fuel sources are a hot topic these days, with the widespread boycott of Russian oil and gas combined with the dire state of the environment. In terms of reducing the negative impact conventionally powered vehicles have on the planet, there’s been a lot of investment in electric vehicles. However, there is growing interest in another alternative fuel source: ammonia.
The energy potential of ammonia
Ammonia is already widely used as agricultural fertilizer and has shown promise as an alternative fuel source for the shipping and aviation industry. While ammonia has tremendous potential as a zero-emissions source of energy, some important questions need to be addressed, such as how the energy-intensive process involved in its production can be cleaned up.
At the forefront of this budding industry is Brooklyn-based startup Amogy. So far, the startup has successfully installed its zero-emissions ammonia-powered energy system into a heavy-duty John Deere tractor. The ammonia-fueled tractor can carry out regular farming tasks but without the emissions.
The energy system is made up of a tank that stores ammonia in liquid form, which is then fed into “highly-efficient” cracking modules that split the liquid ammonia into nitrogen and hydrogen. The hydrogen is then used to run the system’s fuel cell.
According to Amogy, this can provide ongoing power for several hours at a time. This solution generates five times the system-level energy density of a lithium-ion battery. The tractor’s refueling process is just as quick and straightforward as refueling a conventional vehicle.
“We’re thrilled to be demonstrating our zero-emission ammonia power solution in action in a tractor for the first time ever,” exclaims Amogy CEO Seonghoon Woo. “Ammonia is a viable zero-emission fuel for all heavy-duty vehicles, but especially farming and agriculture, where the readily available chemical has been used as a fertilizer for decades.”
The Amogy team hopes that the system that powers the John Deere tractor will be the first of many innovations in ammonia-based fuel solutions.