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Ammonia Powered Automobile

One of the largest opportunities for using ammonia as a fuel is the transportation sector. The majority of the liquid energy resources used in transportation are produced from imported petroleum. Petroleum is a bad choice for a number of reason. Petroleum use is the principle cause of our trade deficit. Year after year our wealth is moving out of our country and into countries that have petroleum. Petroleum as fuel is also a bad idea because a typical car burning petroleum based fuels will add over six tons of C02 per year to the atmosphere. People often fail to conceptualize the extent of this pollution because it comes in the form of a slow leak of an invisible, odorless gas  The quantity of pollution each car produces is much easier to visualize if you think of it as burning the weight of the car ever six months.

While it is possible to use bio-diesel or bio-gasoline as "green" substitutes (we could install Fischer-Tropsch chemical processing plants on our plantships in combination with carbon taken from a biomass source to generate these traditional carbon based fuels), a better solution is to switch to new fuels, such as ammonia, that are more energy efficient to produce and to consume. Ammonia is a particularly good choice because it is not flammable and it only emits nitrogen gas and water as exhaust.

Ammonia was first used as a transportation fuel in 1943. There is very little work needed to adopt our current automotive transportation infrastructure to use ammonia as an alternative fuel. The initial conversion can simply replace the fuel injection systems on modern cars to use ammonia as the fuel. New fuel storage tanks would need to be designed and of course ammonia stations would have to be developed. Eventually a fuel cell would replace the internal combustion engine. Fuel cells can improve energy conversion efficiency. The tank to wheel efficiency of a fuel cell powered car are approximately 36%. By comparison a Diesel vehicle is 22%.

YouTube Video

It can't be much simpler than this example to demonstrate how easy it is to create an alternative fuel to gasoline. Our plantships can produce fuel to power automobiles by using electricity generated from OTEC power to create ammonia.

We are teaming with pioneers in the adoption of ammonia as a fuel source to promote this alternative to carbon based fuels.