Sustainable mobility isn’t just about electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells. Green ammonia can also be a solution.
Ammonia is a highly toxic substance, used mainly as a fertilizer, but with combustible characteristics that have become of interest to manufacturers. Although it has a lower energy density than gasoline (about half), it does not emit carbon, hydrocarbons, or CO₂ when it is burned.
Manufacturers GAC and Toyota have been working on a combustion engine prepared to burn ammonia. It is not the first engine to be developed to run on ammonia, but it is the first possible to be used in a passenger car. The 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine developed by the Chinese manufacturers produces 161 hp and emits 90% less carbon than unleaded gasoline.
What is green ammonia
The advantages of using ammonia lie in the relative ease with which it can be produced, while also making it possible to maintain fuel distribution infrastructures. The traditional method of producing ammonia is considered energy-intensive, but recent developments have led to the small-scale production of green ammonia, which uses renewable energy sources for carbon-free production.
There are also challenges in the use of ammonia, such as its toxicity, its storage, and its use beyond fuels. About 70% of the world’s annual ammonia production is used in agriculture as a fertilizer. It is also used as a refrigerant gas and in the manufacture of plastics, textiles, explosives, and pesticides. Green ammonia could also offer further options in the transition to net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, especially as a valid hydrogen energy carrier.
The race to net zero
A new report called The Breakthrough Effect: How to trigger a cascade of tipping points to accelerate the net zero transition states that three “super-leverage points” could catalyse decarbonisation in sectors covering 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These points include mandates for the sale of electric vehicles, public procurement of plant-based proteins and mandates for green ammonia to be used in the manufacture of agricultural fertilisers.
These could lead to cheaper batteries to help solar and wind power scale-up in the electricity sector and cheaper hydrogen for the decarbonisation of shipping and steel production.
Mandates that require the use of green ammonia to make fertilisers could boost the hydrogen economy, according the report. Also, replacing fossil fuels in fertiliser production, would reduce the costs of green ammonia and green hydrogen, enabling their use as fuels in shipping and steel production as well as for energy storage.
Our work with green ammonia
UH2 works with green ammonia as an alternative to fossil fuels, providing the same functionality on a large scale. These green power alternatives are fundamental for a sustainable and complete clean energy transition. UH2 has been working on alternative and innovative energy carriers and storage solutions for a number of years.
Discover more here.