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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 hotsacks » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 22:58:03

Ammonia Guy

Onboard ammonia storage should not be a huge engineering/safety issue.We heard the same pooh-poohing in the 70s about LNG and propane tanks in vehicles and yet miilions were fitted with no cataclymic results.
We use commercial ammonia cleaners for things like greasy machinery and paint removal.I'm wondering about ammonia stripping oil from cylinder walls. Has Hollinger done any wear tests on his motors?
Gasous injection and high compression ratios increase combustion efficiency.I can see,with turbocharging or air ramming ICEs to maximise oxygen to fuel ratios,ammonia making good mileage/lb.
Can you talk at all about your urea processor? Does it resemble a methane digestor?
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby EnergySpin » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 23:09:05

hotsacks wrote:We heard the same pooh-poohing in the 70s about LNG and propane tanks in vehicles and yet miilions were fitted with no cataclymic results.

Requirements should be exactly like those of propane tanks. Re-engineering the pump-to-tank interface would be a big deal IMHO
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby hotsacks » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 23:35:13

ES
Good to see your phosphors again.
Assuming you mean the onboard tank to filling pump connect,would it be any different than a propane filling station set up,screw connections etc.?
Of course,the ammonia economy would mean the end of self serve fuel.You'd have to have state licensed and 5 minute trained techs to fill the tank.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby EnergySpin » Tue 23 Aug 2005, 23:47:14

hotsacks wrote:ES
Good to see your phosphors again.
Assuming you mean the onboard tank to filling pump connect,would it be any different than a propane filling station set up,screw connections etc.?
Of course,the ammonia economy would mean the end of self serve fuel.You'd have to have state licensed and 5 minute trained techs to fill the tank.

Connecting from a hotel room tonight :-D
Yes that's what I mean by interface (pump connect, screw connections etc) - it might be different from the propane ones. Yes that would mean the end of self serve fuel .... I do not see 6-pack Joe or soccer mom Mary handling the stuff themselves
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Wed 24 Aug 2005, 12:26:43

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?


Yes, some colleagues and I had some good email traffic on this yesterday.

Bottom line, ammonia and gasoline not miscible. But, ammonia and ethanol or methanol ought to be very miscible. Don't know the limits yet, but it looks good. What we thought was as potentially valuable was the ability to "spike" liquid ammonia with 5-10 percent ethanol (in the midwest and south) or methanol (the rest of the country) [this is sort of an inside joke because a number of people in the ammonia network live in states where they favor gasahol--don't wince ES]. At any rate, ammonia plus 10 percent (m)ethanol would have improved combustion characteristics in an ICE. We've gotten Ted Hollinger to think about burning this blend in his ammonia ICE. Thanks for the good idea Tanada.

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.


ES--I know, but corn ethanol means job in Iowa.

Onboard ammonia storage should not be a huge engineering/safety issue.We heard the same pooh-poohing in the 70s about LNG and propane tanks in vehicles and yet miilions were fitted with no cataclymic results.
We use commercial ammonia cleaners for things like greasy machinery and paint removal.I'm wondering about ammonia stripping oil from cylinder walls. Has Hollinger done any wear tests on his motors?
Gasous injection and high compression ratios increase combustion efficiency.I can see,with turbocharging or air ramming ICEs to maximise oxygen to fuel ratios,ammonia making good mileage/lb.
Can you talk at all about your urea processor? Does it resemble a methane digestor?


On board storage of ammonia (or hydrogen by ammonia) is quite feasible. The tank would have to be rated for about 250 psi, but compare that to a 10,000 psi H2 tank. Liquid ammonia is commonly stored in plain carbon steel "propane" tanks. I believe ammonia tanks could also be made of aluminum alloys (manufacturers in Ohio already make aluminum propane tanks. Of course, storage tanks and auto designs would have to have good crash resistance. But, so do gasoline auto designs.

Ted has done wear tests on his 6 cyl hydrogen engine and found no deterioration of the cylinder walls, rings, or piston. He hasn't run the ammonia engine yet, but we all anticipate good compatibility of the engine with ammonia. He'll have to avoid copper and brass parts, obviously.

Gotta run, but I'll outline the urea to ammonia process later.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Wed 24 Aug 2005, 12:27:56

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?


Yes, some colleagues and I had some good email traffic on this yesterday.

Bottom line, ammonia and gasoline not miscible. But, ammonia and ethanol or methanol ought to be very miscible. Don't know the limits yet, but it looks good. What we thought was as potentially valuable was the ability to "spike" liquid ammonia with 5-10 percent ethanol (in the midwest and south) or methanol (the rest of the country) [this is sort of an inside joke because a number of people in the ammonia network live in states where they favor gasahol--don't wince ES]. At any rate, ammonia plus 10 percent (m)ethanol would have improved combustion characteristics in an ICE. We've gotten Ted Hollinger to think about burning this blend in his ammonia ICE. Thanks for the good idea Tanada.

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.


ES--I know, but corn ethanol means job in Iowa.

Onboard ammonia storage should not be a huge engineering/safety issue.We heard the same pooh-poohing in the 70s about LNG and propane tanks in vehicles and yet miilions were fitted with no cataclymic results.
We use commercial ammonia cleaners for things like greasy machinery and paint removal.I'm wondering about ammonia stripping oil from cylinder walls. Has Hollinger done any wear tests on his motors?
Gasous injection and high compression ratios increase combustion efficiency.I can see,with turbocharging or air ramming ICEs to maximise oxygen to fuel ratios,ammonia making good mileage/lb.
Can you talk at all about your urea processor? Does it resemble a methane digestor?


On board storage of ammonia (or hydrogen by ammonia) is quite feasible. The tank would have to be rated for about 250 psi, but compare that to a 10,000 psi H2 tank. Liquid ammonia is commonly stored in plain carbon steel "propane" tanks. I believe ammonia tanks could also be made of aluminum alloys (manufacturers in Ohio already make aluminum propane tanks. Of course, storage tanks and auto designs would have to have good crash resistance. But, so do gasoline auto designs.

Ted has done wear tests on his 6 cyl hydrogen engine and found no deterioration of the cylinder walls, rings, or piston. He hasn't run the ammonia engine yet, but we all anticipate good compatibility of the engine with ammonia. He'll have to avoid copper and brass parts, obviously.

Gotta run, but I'll outline the urea to ammonia process later.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 24 Aug 2005, 22:18:39

ammonia-guy wrote:
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?


Yes, some colleagues and I had some good email traffic on this yesterday.

Bottom line, ammonia and gasoline not miscible. But, ammonia and ethanol or methanol ought to be very miscible. Don't know the limits yet, but it looks good. What we thought was as potentially valuable was the ability to "spike" liquid ammonia with 5-10 percent ethanol (in the midwest and south) or methanol (the rest of the country) [this is sort of an inside joke because a number of people in the ammonia network live in states where they favor gasahol--don't wince ES]. At any rate, ammonia plus 10 percent (m)ethanol would have improved combustion characteristics in an ICE. We've gotten Ted Hollinger to think about burning this blend in his ammonia ICE. Thanks for the good idea Tanada.

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.


ES--I know, but corn ethanol means job in Iowa.

Onboard ammonia storage should not be a huge engineering/safety issue.We heard the same pooh-poohing in the 70s about LNG and propane tanks in vehicles and yet miilions were fitted with no cataclymic results.
We use commercial ammonia cleaners for things like greasy machinery and paint removal.I'm wondering about ammonia stripping oil from cylinder walls. Has Hollinger done any wear tests on his motors?
Gasous injection and high compression ratios increase combustion efficiency.I can see,with turbocharging or air ramming ICEs to maximise oxygen to fuel ratios,ammonia making good mileage/lb.
Can you talk at all about your urea processor? Does it resemble a methane digestor?


On board storage of ammonia (or hydrogen by ammonia) is quite feasible. The tank would have to be rated for about 250 psi, but compare that to a 10,000 psi H2 tank. Liquid ammonia is commonly stored in plain carbon steel "propane" tanks. I believe ammonia tanks could also be made of aluminum alloys (manufacturers in Ohio already make aluminum propane tanks. Of course, storage tanks and auto designs would have to have good crash resistance. But, so do gasoline auto designs.

Ted has done wear tests on his 6 cyl hydrogen engine and found no deterioration of the cylinder walls, rings, or piston. He hasn't run the ammonia engine yet, but we all anticipate good compatibility of the engine with ammonia. He'll have to avoid copper and brass parts, obviously.

Gotta run, but I'll outline the urea to ammonia process later.


Great news, and as I posted in another thread the politico's here in Michigan are preparing legislation to mandate that all gosoline sold for automotive use be gasohol as a SOP to the corn lobby so I know how you feel in Iowa.

Another off the wall question, bidiesel plants churn out a lot of Glycerol, would there be any advatage to substituting Glycerol for the Ethanol/Methanol fraction in the Ammonia? What does the mixing do to the pressure/volume requirements for the fuel tank?
Glycerol is basically a waste product from the bio-diesel conversion process, that should cut the cost of production considerably and give the bio-diesel makers another fuel line to exploit for spark ignition ICE's vs the compression ignition ICE's that run on bio-diesel.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Devil » Thu 25 Aug 2005, 07:33:54

ammonia-guy wrote:I believe ammonia tanks could also be made of aluminum alloys (manufacturers in Ohio already make aluminum propane tanks.


This sentence alone is proof enough that ammonia-guy is not an ammonia guy at all and loses all the little-remaining credibility he may have. If he knew anything about the subject he pretends to, he would know that ammonia reacts quite violently with amphoteric metals, aluminium included. That is why pipework fittings for ammonia plants are always iron, never in brass, zinc also being an amphoteric metal. It also reacts with copper, even though it is not amphoteric, but because copper readily forms complexes with it.

I would even suggest that if you pumped NH3 into an aluminium tank, the exothermy of the reaction would probably cause a violent explosion.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby hotsacks » Thu 25 Aug 2005, 10:30:40

[QUOTE]

This sentence alone is proof enough that ammonia-guy is not an ammonia guy at all and loses all the little-remaining credibility he may have. If he knew anything about the subject he pretends to, he would know that ammonia reacts quite violently with amphoteric metals, aluminium included. That is why pipework fittings for ammonia plants are always iron, never in brass, zinc also being an amphoteric metal. It also reacts with copper, even though it is not amphoteric, but because copper readily forms complexes with it.

I would even suggest that if you pumped NH3 into an aluminium tank, the exothermy of the reaction would probably cause a violent explosion.[/quot

I don't know how this could be true. I've been involved with building housing for commercial refrigeration plants and a good deal of the piping has been in aluminum. These were large ammonia compressors. There are so many different grades of aluminum,it might be some are ammonia compatible.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Antimatter » Fri 26 Aug 2005, 06:07:14

Anhydrous NH3 might be ok, its the basicity that attacks aluminium. Ammonium hydroxide is definatly a no-no.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 26 Aug 2005, 20:39:44

Antimatter wrote:Anhydrous NH3 might be ok, its the basicity that attacks aluminium. Ammonium hydroxide is definatly a no-no.


Would there be some technical problem with coating the inner tank wall with a non ammonia reactive layer and using aluminum for the main preassure support?
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Antimatter » Sat 27 Aug 2005, 02:34:15

Tanada wrote:
Antimatter wrote:Anhydrous NH3 might be ok, its the basicity that attacks aluminium. Ammonium hydroxide is definatly a no-no.


Would there be some technical problem with coating the inner tank wall with a non ammonia reactive layer and using aluminum for the main preassure support?


I would imagine that would be difficult and not worth the extra bother over using steel. In any case, I can't help thinking electricity -> hydrogen -> NH3 -> combustion engine is much less efficient than electricity -> grid -> plug in hybrid. Could be usefull in the longer run though for liquid fuels.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Devil » Sat 27 Aug 2005, 04:37:45

Liquid ammonia is used extensively as a nonaqueous solvent. The alkali metals as well as the heavier alkaline earth metals and even some inner transition metals dissolve in liquid ammonia, producing blue solutions. Physical measurements, including electrical conductivity studies, provide evidence that this blue colour and electrical current are due to the solvated electron.
metal (dispersed) ⇌ metal(NH3)x ⇌ M+(NH3)x + e −(NH3)y

[Enc. Brit.]
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Mon 29 Aug 2005, 20:11:28

Antimatter wrote:
Tanada wrote:
Antimatter wrote:Anhydrous NH3 might be ok, its the basicity that attacks aluminium. Ammonium hydroxide is definatly a no-no.


Would there be some technical problem with coating the inner tank wall with a non ammonia reactive layer and using aluminum for the main preassure support?


I would imagine that would be difficult and not worth the extra bother over using steel. In any case, I can't help thinking electricity -> hydrogen -> NH3 -> combustion engine is much less efficient than electricity -> grid -> plug in hybrid. Could be usefull in the longer run though for liquid fuels.


I was thinking that a steel liner supported by an aluminum shell would be lighter than a steel tank, rather like the way an aluminum engine block is now used to support the piston walls in an ICE instead of cast iron as it was before the early 1980's.

I agree a plug in hybrid would be a better near term solution, but why not a plug in Ammoniated Ethanol/Methanol/Glycerol ICE hybrid and take gasoline and diesel completely out of the picture?
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Tue 30 Aug 2005, 17:36:39

QUOTE]This sentence alone is proof enough that ammonia-guy is not an ammonia guy at all and loses all the little-remaining credibility he may have. If he knew anything about the subject he pretends to, he would know that ammonia reacts quite violently with amphoteric metals, aluminium included. That is why pipework fittings for ammonia plants are always iron, never in brass, zinc also being an amphoteric metal. It also reacts with copper, even though it is not amphoteric, but because copper readily forms complexes with it.

I would even suggest that if you pumped NH3 into an aluminium tank, the exothermy of the reaction would probably cause a violent explosion.[/QUOTE]

I don't know how this could be true. I've been involved with building housing for commercial refrigeration plants and a good deal of the piping has been in aluminum. These were large ammonia compressors. There are so many different grades of aluminum,it might be some are ammonia compatible.


Anhydrous NH3 might be ok, its the basicity that attacks aluminium. Ammonium hydroxide is definatly a no-no.


Hopefully, this will put to rest the issue of anhydrous ammona compatibility with aluminum and aluminum alloys...maybe.

Webpage Title

All, numerous U.S. and international experts have said that ammonia is a great fuel....except for its toxicity. Let's try to focus this thread on how to address the few genuine problems with ammonia fuel--

1. Can it be produced in an environmentally and economically friendly way? (e.g. clean coal)
2. Can it be used safely in transportation applications?

and
3. Can it be produced ultimately from renewables in an economic way at high volumes if the worldthe world accepts ammonia as a fuel.

All the best. A-G
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby ammonia-guy » Tue 30 Aug 2005, 17:39:08

You can see I'm still new at this. Here's the link...

http://www.colmaccoil.com/pdf/AluminumAdTP.pdf
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 31 Aug 2005, 18:12:30

ammonia-guy wrote:You can see I'm still new at this. Here's the link...

http://www.colmaccoil.com/pdf/AluminumAdTP.pdf


So far as I can tell both links went to the same article so you must be better at this than you think.

p.s. I private messeged you just in case you didn;t notice on your intro page.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby cornholio » Fri 02 Sep 2005, 00:34:01

Forgive me if this has been posted before but I found a few related links which make me think that an ammonia based hydrogen economy might be started up fairly quickly, with a few unique advantages....

1) there is already an infrastructure (including liquid ammonia pipelines and trucking) for an ammonia based fuel distribution
2) there is some progress being made in the field of nanotechnology which may make production of ammonia more efficient http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR_d ... prID=04-I6
3) ammonia based fuel cells have been in use since the 1960's in the space program (successfully) and in fact the technology will be available for purchase soon in cars http://www.zapworld.com/about/news/news_zapapollo.asp
4) this potentially avoids the amount of platinum in the world limiting the number of cars produced (a fatal flaw if Pt is used in each car)
5) liquid ammonia is more portable and less explosive than hydrogen gas

I know, its only an energy storage media, but it would give another liquid fuel option... one potentially posed to benefit from nanotechnology : ) .

PS- I post this mainly because this is one of the few hopeful spots I've seen on this board. With this and coal gassification there may be hope for my old age... Im not saying depression/recession/upheaval won't have to happen, but that there is a path with some hope at the end of it.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby Tanada » Tue 20 Sep 2005, 20:57:37

ammonia-guy wrote:
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?


Yes, some colleagues and I had some good email traffic on this yesterday.

Bottom line, ammonia and gasoline not miscible. But, ammonia and ethanol or methanol ought to be very miscible. Don't know the limits yet, but it looks good. What we thought was as potentially valuable was the ability to "spike" liquid ammonia with 5-10 percent ethanol (in the midwest and south) or methanol (the rest of the country) [this is sort of an inside joke because a number of people in the ammonia network live in states where they favor gasahol--don't wince ES]. At any rate, ammonia plus 10 percent (m)ethanol would have improved combustion characteristics in an ICE. We've gotten Ted Hollinger to think about burning this blend in his ammonia ICE. Thanks for the good idea Tanada.

On board storage of ammonia (or hydrogen by ammonia) is quite feasible. The tank would have to be rated for about 250 psi, but compare that to a 10,000 psi H2 tank. Liquid ammonia is commonly stored in plain carbon steel "propane" tanks. I believe ammonia tanks could also be made of aluminum alloys (manufacturers in Ohio already make aluminum propane tanks. Of course, storage tanks and auto designs would have to have good crash resistance. But, so do gasoline auto designs.

Ted has done wear tests on his 6 cyl hydrogen engine and found no deterioration of the cylinder walls, rings, or piston. He hasn't run the ammonia engine yet, but we all anticipate good compatibility of the engine with ammonia. He'll have to avoid copper and brass parts, obviously.

Gotta run, but I'll outline the urea to ammonia process later.


OK I am an impatient person at times, and for all I know you were adversely effected by external events such as Katrina so please forgive me if this is too eager.

What if any results have you or your collegues acheived since this idea was presented? Any calcs on what maximum percentages of Ammonia can be dissolved in Ethanol/Methanol? Any calcs on what the most efficient ratio would be energy wise vs price wise for said mixtures? I am left wondering if an E-85/A-15 mix would be better or an E-15/A-85 mixture. I beleive it would depend on price of materials, energy density of the fuels, storabillity of the fuel mixtures and a whole host of other variables. If you go for E-85/A-15 you might be able top store it in a standard fuel tank, which would save a lot of tank weight and complexity.

Any data at all would be welcome, even negative data indicating this idea won't work would be better than nothing.
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Re: The Ammonia Economy - An easier alternative to H2?

Unread postby geronimo » Wed 21 Sep 2005, 05:13:08

Some great info in this thread EnergySpin. I was not aware of Ammonia's potential as a method for hydrogen delivery. I was always under the impression it was a very energy intensive process to manufacture, as was the method for extracting nitrogen from air ( this is only around 21 kj/mole vs the standard heat of combustion for ammonia of 382kj/mole ). The fact it is carbon neutral is a potential climate saver as well !

I think your criticism is overly harsh Devil. While it presents different hazards to gasoline it can be compared to CNG which is used in many vehicles throughout the world. The existing infrastructure for its production and use is also a big advantage for it to gain acceptace as a transport fuel.

Now all we need is the hydrogen, and my vote goes for direct production from the heat of concentrating solar power using the Sulfur-Iodine Cycle although this will most likely be done first with nuclear heat....

Stil we are at the stage where urgent action is needed to head off major climate change and this offers the opportunity to wean ourselves off fossil fuels for transport. Such a shame the obstacles are not so much technical but political and economic. :(

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