Donate Bitcoin

Donate Paypal


PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

THE Ammonia Fuel/Energy Storage Thread

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby EnergySpin » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 11:15:15

ammonia-guy wrote:To eric_b--
and we have developers in the network who want to build wind to ammonia farms today.

That would make a lot of sense for the agriculture sector ... reduce the transportation cost. Could also help store electricity off grid in those places.
"Nuclear power has long been to the Left what embryonic-stem-cell research is to the Right--irredeemably wrong and a signifier of moral weakness."Esquire Magazine,12/05
The genetic code is commaless and so are my posts.
User avatar
EnergySpin
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: Sat 25 Jun 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 11:19:05

To TarSands--

I think ES gave you the answer. It depends on your hydrogen containing feedstock.

Natural Gas
Coal
Biomass
Water (wind, nuc, solar, hydro)

Of course, water is the best source. The challenge is to reap the inexpensive energy from wind, sun, thermal gradiets, waves, etc. to crack the water. Then ammonia can be made carbon free.
ammonia-guy
Wood
Wood
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby JudoCow09 » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 11:26:56

JudoCow09 is my name if you were adressing me; tar sands is just the rating of the site :lol:
User avatar
JudoCow09
Lignite
Lignite
 
Posts: 241
Joined: Sun 07 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 11:27:29

To ES--

Good thinking on the wind to ammonia. Actually, my favorite scenario is to

- take 1/3 or so of the wind-electric power from, say, Altamount in California

- electrolyze water (so there needs to be a water supply)

- operate a just-right-sized H-B unit to convert to ammonia

- tanker truck (or build inexpensive pipeline) to carry the ammonia to, say, the hydrogen stations on the Ca Hydrogen Highway

- reform the ammonia to H2

- 1/3 of the Altamount power would easily supply all the hydrogen needed for the existing number of stations, with room for growth

- incidentally, I have proposed this to the Ca Clean Air Board and Energy Council

AG
ammonia-guy
Wood
Wood
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 11:40:00

To Caoimhan and ES--

If I understood your comments about "Genetic engineering of nitrogenase", I think you're on a super track. As you know, all mammals produce urea, nominally about 5% of urine. Urea + water gives 2 ammonias and one CO2. This reaction is sluggish, though, and is activated in nature (read compost heaps and outdoor toilets) by urease bacteria.

Some network colleagues and I have developed a process for capturing urea from waste treatment plants, dairy, hog and chicken farm, etc. and converting that to ammonia. We're trying to market that to USDA and EPA. Been a slow sell so far, in spite of spoiled air and water in places like the Chesapeake Bay.

We're also in touch with large dairy farmers, who between the manure and the urea could make themselves energy independent and even sell some electricity back to the grid.

All in good time. AG
ammonia-guy
Wood
Wood
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby gnm » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 11:44:27

Excellent thread ESpin, and greetings Ammonia-Guy!

If DOE is giving the thumbs down to onboard cracking of ammonia for fuel cell type vehicles, I would think that carrying ammonia onboard for and ICE would be pretty unpopular too. I suppose pressure would have to build from public outcry.

But as far as problems which face us in the near future concerning supply it seems that our real problem is ramping up electrical production rapidly enough. Ammonia would seem to be an effective carrier but even with using natural gas as a feedstock I don't think we could meet current consumption. The new energy bill gives incentives to build nuclear power plants but I fear it will be too little too late.

I think what we really need is full throttle deployment of nuclear power plants and an immediate widespread deployment of rail.

I'm not trying to be a doomer just wondering what the real production potential is relative to current or even conservation level demand. I did the numbers on biodiesel and ethanol and it was unfortunately rather depressing. :(

like you said ES, -as fast as the concrete can dry...

-G
User avatar
gnm
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 3220
Joined: Thu 08 Jul 2004, 02:00:00
Location: plundering eco-villages

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby EnergySpin » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 13:04:49

ammonia-guy wrote:[u][b]T
* What does "PM" mean?

AG

PM = private message, I sent you one to see how it works.
Check the browser under discussions. There is a Private Messages link. There should be an envelope flashing next to it, if the message went through
"Nuclear power has long been to the Left what embryonic-stem-cell research is to the Right--irredeemably wrong and a signifier of moral weakness."Esquire Magazine,12/05
The genetic code is commaless and so are my posts.
User avatar
EnergySpin
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: Sat 25 Jun 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby EnergySpin » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 13:10:06

gnm wrote:
I'm not trying to be a doomer just wondering what the real production potential is relative to current or even conservation level demand. I did the numbers on biodiesel and ethanol and it was unfortunately rather depressing. :(

like you said ES, -as fast as the concrete can dry...

-G

I did change my signature to show people that even Rousseau who thought Modern Society oppresses man, wanted people to go above their "instincts" :-D
Re fuels: The best bet is to stop the nonsence with the ethanol. It is not working at least in the US. I have posted data from Europe where the production seems to be worthwile (marginally) EROEIS of 2-4. But the industry is different in Europe and those were national data (i.e. Belgium). We should not expect to make the fuel in the midwest and ship it over to Florida. This is pure stupidity. The Danes have looked into "organic biofuels", there was a PhD on the web ... if we can minimize input to to the process then the EROEI can go up here as well.
And maybe the answer is in algal processes; the smaller the better. Nature has already provided us mith self-replicating micromachines. They are called microorganisms
Last edited by EnergySpin on Wed 17 Aug 2005, 13:46:24, edited 1 time in total.
"Nuclear power has long been to the Left what embryonic-stem-cell research is to the Right--irredeemably wrong and a signifier of moral weakness."Esquire Magazine,12/05
The genetic code is commaless and so are my posts.
User avatar
EnergySpin
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: Sat 25 Jun 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby hotsacks » Wed 17 Aug 2005, 13:39:45

I
And maybe the answer is in algal processes; the smaller the better. Nature has already provided us mith self-replicating micromachines. They are called bacteria[QUOTE]

The irony is that algae is probably the organism responsible for the creation of oil in the first place.The 'micromachine' also produces a great deal of our oxygen.
And,woe to the system!!!,it grows in your backyard.
User avatar
hotsacks
Coal
Coal
 
Posts: 441
Joined: Fri 13 May 2005, 02:00:00

Ammoniated gasoline/ethanol/methanol/diesel?

Unread postby Tanada » Sun 21 Aug 2005, 22:26:18

Can anyone tell me the prospects for adding pure anyhydrous ammonia to the four main liquid fuels as a meathod of stretching supplies? In particular can you mix Ammonia with regular Gasoline in the same way you add in Ethanol to make Gasahol at say 15%/85%?

Even if we can't have ICE's burning pure ammonia if we can add it to gasoline and get useful energy out it would help streach supplies further. Especially if you can add it to Gasahol redfucing the Gasoline component while maintaining the 15% ethanol content of total fuel.

Anyone have exact answers for this one?
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
User avatar
Tanada
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14770
Joined: Thu 28 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South West shore Lake Erie, OH, USA

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Mon 22 Aug 2005, 11:47:24

Welcome to the thread Tanada, and good question. Before I attempt to answer that, I had promised to provide the link to last October's Ammonia meeting in Iowa. Some very good information in the presentations...

http://www.energy.iastate.edu/renewable ... iaMtg.html

Now, to your question. One of the cool properties of ammonia is its ability to dissolve most anything, particularly organic stuff. It's a wonderful solvent. That's why it's such a good household cleaner, even in water solution. I know of nobody who's done anything like adding ammonia to gasoline to stretch the gasoline, but at first glance, it might appear that ammonia-gasoline, ammonia-ethanol, etc. might just make fine mixes. It would be interesting to see how they burn and what the emissions are. I'll bounce the idea off some of my ammonia colleagues.
ammonia-guy
Wood
Wood
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Mon 22 Aug 2005, 16:17:13

I think I spoke too soon. Since gasoline is a non-polar molecule and ammonia is polar, I don't believe they'll be miscible. Water dissolves ammonia nicely since it's also polar, but gasoline, ethanol, and other hydrocarbons probably won't.

On the other hand, hydrogen (non-polar) might dissolve pretty well in gasoline, but has negligible solubility in water.
ammonia-guy
Wood
Wood
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 22 Aug 2005, 22:24:38

ammonia-guy wrote:I think I spoke too soon. Since gasoline is a non-polar molecule and ammonia is polar, I don't believe they'll be miscible. Water dissolves ammonia nicely since it's also polar, but gasoline, ethanol, and other hydrocarbons probably won't.

On the other hand, hydrogen (non-polar) might dissolve pretty well in gasoline, but has negligible solubility in water.


I dunno, Alcohols are organic solvents, Ammonia is an organic solvent so it seem(ed) logical that if one will blend then the other would as well. If not then you need what, and emulsifier(?) to mix the two fluids together in a stable quasi-solution?

Heck with it, here is a cheat <eg> make a highly concentraterd ammoniated water solution, add alcohol to emulsify it in the gasoline and wallah, you have a cocktail of Water, Ammonia, Ethanol and Gasoline. If you don't blow up the engine you cut down on the need for gasoline LOL
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
User avatar
Tanada
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14770
Joined: Thu 28 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South West shore Lake Erie, OH, USA

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Devil » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 07:13:05

I do wish people would think and/or research before posting crap on this forum.

1, Ammonia is NOT an organic compound, never has been, never will be.

2. Ethanol is both organic and polar

3. Ammonia is a reasonably good solvent for many organic compounds

4. Ammonia is 70% inert and thus not a good fuel. It is very difficult to combust in air, but does combust readily in pure oxygen.

5. A mixture of water, ammonia, ethanol and gasoline would almost certainly separate. The ammoniated water at the bottom would be OK for washing the windscreen, but not for running the engine.
Devil
User avatar
Devil
Tar Sands
Tar Sands
 
Posts: 816
Joined: Tue 06 Jul 2004, 02:00:00
Location: Cyprus

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 10:50:11

To Devil--

No need to be unkind. Folks are just brainstorming here. New ideas are given birth that way. In fact, I was intrigued after Tanada's idea about mixtures, and I have our Iowa colleagues looking into ethanol-ammonia mixes. Ethanol from corn, ammonia from wind. We'd never given that any thought, but they think it could work.

In response to one of your comments.

[QUOTE]4. Ammonia is 70% inert and thus not a good fuel. It is very difficult to combust in air, but does combust readily in pure oxygen.

I think this statement is misleading, and largely incorrect. I don't know where the 70% figure comes from. Maybe you're thinking of ammonia dissolved in water. Anhydrous ammonia is stoichemetrically 75% hydrogen, and 18% hydrogen on a weight basis (so by weight that would be 82% inert, I guess). However, ammonia has about 52% of the energy density of gasoline, and that's all clean hydrogen energy, whereas about half of the energy from gasoline comes from burning the carbon in the molecule.

Because of ammonia's high ignition energy, it is indeed very difficult to combust in air (i.e. at atmospheric), which is a good safety feature. However, researchers have found out that when compressed in the cylinder of an ICE, it burns just fine with standard spark plugs. And, of course, it can be fed directly to SOFCs, Alkaline FCs, and Proton Conducting Ceramic Fuel Cells.

Your statement about burning better with oxygen is true, of course. Remember the LOX-Ammonia powered X-15 rocket plane.

Our ammonia research group is going to be looking at ammonia "spiked" with 2 to 7 percent hydrogen, as well as pure ammonia in an ICE. I suspect we'll find that both work fine.
ammonia-guy
Wood
Wood
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Caoimhan » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 11:04:30

ammonia-guy,

What kind of NOX emissions result from burning ammonia in an ICE? I mean, not all the Nitrogen will end up bonding covalently, right? Also, water will be produced by the reaction, but will there also be any nitric acid in the exhaust mix?

I also wonder about using ammonia in something like a Star Rotor engine: www.starrotor.com The Star Rotor uses variable compression ratios to control engine speed. What is the minimum compression ratio for ammonia to burn cleanly, assuming a regular fuel-air mixture (no additional oxidizer)?
User avatar
Caoimhan
Tar Sands
Tar Sands
 
Posts: 557
Joined: Tue 10 May 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 11:56:44

What kind of NOX emissions result from burning ammonia in an ICE? I mean, not all the Nitrogen will end up bonding covalently, right? Also, water will be produced by the reaction, but will there also be any nitric acid in the exhaust mix?

I also wonder about using ammonia in something like a Star Rotor engine: www.starrotor.com The Star Rotor uses variable compression ratios to control engine speed. What is the minimum compression ratio for ammonia to burn cleanly, assuming a regular fuel-air mixture (no additional oxidizer)?


Actually, if one were to run an ammonia engine with pure oxygen, the NOx would be essentially negligible. However, when air is used for combustion, some NOx is produced. I'm not sure the readership is aware of this, but some NOx is also produced in a hydrogen-powered ICE from the nitrogen in the air. (Not true of course with fuel cells.)

But, low NOx is an advantage that ammonia has over gasoline. Actual experience has shown that NOx from an ICE running on ammonia/air is only about a quarter of that for an engine running on gasoline. But, the really cool thing is that ammonia is the ingredient (usually delivered in the form of urea) that is used in De-NOx reactions. In other words, the ammonia fuel on board can be used to reduce NOx emissions to virtually zero. And, no carbon.

I really don't know enough about the Starrotor engine to comment. In general, though, ammonia fueled ICEs have run best on higher compression ratios than their gasoline counterparts.
ammonia-guy
Wood
Wood
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon 15 Aug 2005, 02:00:00

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 19:56:53

Devil wrote:I do wish people would think and/or research before posting crap on this forum.

1, Ammonia is NOT an organic compound, never has been, never will be.

2. Ethanol is both organic and polar

3. Ammonia is a reasonably good solvent for many organic compounds

4. Ammonia is 70% inert and thus not a good fuel. It is very difficult to combust in air, but does combust readily in pure oxygen.

5. A mixture of water, ammonia, ethanol and gasoline would almost certainly separate. The ammoniated water at the bottom would be OK for washing the windscreen, but not for running the engine.


1 I never said it (NH3) was organic, I said it was a solvent for organics which should have been clear from context

4 Tell that to the NASA engineers who flew a number of ammonia fueled rockets. It is not a good fuel in low preasure air, but the cylinders of an ICE are designed specifically to make high compression ratio's for air and fuel so that is not an issue.

5 By that logic drygas in the form of alcohol should not work, the water would stay seperated and on the bottom of the tank.
Last edited by Tanada on Tue 23 Aug 2005, 20:05:44, edited 1 time in total.
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
User avatar
Tanada
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14770
Joined: Thu 28 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South West shore Lake Erie, OH, USA

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 20:02:31

ammonia-guy wrote: Folks are just brainstorming here. New ideas are given birth that way. In fact, I was intrigued after Tanada's idea about mixtures, and I have our Iowa colleagues looking into ethanol-ammonia mixes. Ethanol from corn, ammonia from wind. We'd never given that any thought, but they think it could work.



Hey maybe I am not as out of the zone as I thought, glad I could spark a new idea. Any guess as to how soon we will know if it is a valid idea and if so at what ratio's?
I should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, write, balance accounts, build a wall, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, pitch manure, program a computer, cook, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
User avatar
Tanada
Site Admin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14770
Joined: Thu 28 Apr 2005, 02:00:00
Location: South West shore Lake Erie, OH, USA

Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby EnergySpin » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 22:47:57

Ammonia is a molecule with HUGE dipole movement. This is why it is usually found in the form of NH4+ in aqueous solutions (including our own body, generated by glutaminase in the kidney)
The solubility of NH3 in ethanol should be ok;
Going back to the basics, we see that the nitrogen in ammonia has an electron pair that is available for a hydrogen bonding with the hydrogen atom in the hydroxyl group of the ethanol (and methanol).
Regarding the solubility of ammonia in gasoline:
The typical composition of gasoline hydrocarbons (% volume) is as follows: 4-8% alkanes; 2-5%
alkenes; 25-40% isoalkanes; 3-7% cycloalkanes; l-4% cycloalkenes; and 20-50% total aromatics
(0.5-2.5% benzene) (IARC 1989).

Based on that I would not expect ammonia to be soluble in gasoline ... I mean I would not expect that this mixture would have any polar groups that would make hydrogen available for bonding ... but then again it has been more 14 years since I last took organic and physical chemisty.

I tried the NIST solubility database (http://srdata.nist.gov/solubility/) and I got no hits so it seems that no one has tried this before 8O.

ammonia-guy wrote: Ethanol from corn, ammonia from wind.

Bad idea ... ethanol from corn has an EROEI of 1.2-1.34 documented by multiple studies in the US and an EROEI of 4 in a European study (likely reflecting agricultural practises in the US and even the difference in distances from farm to industrial plant). I hope that perennial plants that can also double as carbon sequestration/soil remediation measures as discussed here . Ethanol derived from switchgrass (aka "solar panel of the prairies") has a much higher holistic EROEI (4.4) compared to corn ethanol and room for improvement of this number. Corn ethanol seems to be a dead end: we can only optimize industrial agriculture practises but extracting the ETOH is a well known (and optimized) process.
In any case if fuel mixes i.e. ethanol from plants, methanol from wood and even ammonia (even though the compound might be better utilized in agriculture, still have my doubts inspite of my starting this thread) then both ICEs and fuel cells are viable as engines for road transportation. But if we could "kill" the majority of the cars AND improve their mileage then biofuels alone would be able to meet the demand (at least in the US and quite likely in Europe) without problems.
"Nuclear power has long been to the Left what embryonic-stem-cell research is to the Right--irredeemably wrong and a signifier of moral weakness."Esquire Magazine,12/05
The genetic code is commaless and so are my posts.
User avatar
EnergySpin
Intermediate Crude
Intermediate Crude
 
Posts: 2248
Joined: Sat 25 Jun 2005, 02:00:00

PreviousNext

Return to Energy Technology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests