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Ammonia as an Alternative Fuel!

Can You Power a Tractor With Ammonia?

May of this year marked a significant milestone for the company known as Amogy. It was at this time they were able to prove a portable carbon-free energy system using ammonia as a renewable fuel. Even more important, they were able to decarbonize a piece of commercial transportation in the form of a tractor using this new ammonia-based system.

Why was this such a significant achievement, one might ask? It proved another alternative fuel, ammonia, is a viable fuel alternative for commercial tasks.

Who is Amogy? In their own words:

Amogy was founded by four MIT Ph.D. alumni that shared the same vision of innovating a solution for a decarbonized transportation sector. Their initial research led them to the realization that ammonia presented an immense opportunity in the transportation industry’s path to sustainability. They soon discovered that due to its unique properties, ammonia is an environmentally-friendly, high-performance alternative that has the capacity to revolutionize the heavy-duty transportation industry as we know it. This is how Amogy was born.

Ammonia has many positive things going for it. First, it is already commercially available and widely used in farming as a fertilizer. The infrastructure is already there as it is a globally traded commodity. Second, it is very high in energy density. This ammonia-based system is up to 5 times more energy dense than typical lithium batteries. Compared to compressed hydrogen, ammonia is nearly three times as energy dense. In terms of fuel quality, high energy density is most preferred.

The third reason the ammonia system is so appealing is its portability. Ammonia is easy to store and can be done so at ambient temperatures under pressure or refrigerated. Last but not least, ammonia has zero ozone depletion potential and zero global warming potential, making this environmentally safe.

The Amogy system utilizes ammonia, which then feeds the reactor system. This set of reactors incorporates catalysts (cracking) to convert the ammonia into hydrogen. This hydrogen will then power the 100kW fuel cell, which is converted into water and produces electricity. You get a quieter, less polluted, and more efficient experience.

Don’t expect to see ammonia-equipped farm equipment too soon as they are still very early in their process but well on their way to zero emissions by 2050. This latest demonstration proved that the Amogy system is viable for commercial, heavy-duty equipment in a world where EV technology dominates light-duty trucks and passenger vehicles. Amogy’s next goal is to scale up and applies this technology to overseas shipping vessels. I, for one, am anxious to see this new form of fuel succeed!

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