Australia ammonia solution

Discussion in 'Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles' started by bwilson4web, Aug 11, 2018.

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  1. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web Well-Known Member Subscriber


    CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall was one of the first to ride in the Toyota Mirai and Hyundai Nexo vehicles powered by ultra-high purity hydrogen, produced in Queensland using CSIRO’s membrane technology.

    This technology will pave the way for bulk hydrogen to be transported in the form of ammonia, using existing infrastructure, and then reconverted back to hydrogen at the point of use.

    It has the potential to fill the gap in the technology chain to supply fuel cell vehicles around the world with low-emissions hydrogen sourced from Australia.

    The membrane separates ultra-high purity hydrogen from ammonia, while blocking all other gases.

    It links hydrogen production, distribution and delivery in the form of a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refuelling station.
    . . .

    First off, this is a better approach although not perfect:
    1. Anhydrous ammonia (i.e., liquified) it a lot easier to handle compared to liquified or compressed hydrogen.
    2. It is hydrogen dense because each nitrogen atom has three hydrogen atoms around it.
    Unfortunately the derived hydrogen still has to be compressed to dispense. A perfect solution would be a fuel cell that operates on ammonia directly. Suddenly the high pressure tank problem is solved.

    Does it make economic sense is not clear yet as we don't have a thermodynamic analysis. But we can rough out:
    • 12.2 lbs ~= 5.5 kg cost $3.20 :: anhydrous ammonia cost
    • 5.5 kg NH{3} ~= 14 + (3 * 1) -> 3 / 17 -> 17% -> 0.97 kg of hydrogen
    Back of the envelope, ammonia derived hydrogen is ~$3.30 / kg not counting other energy and labor costs. Given ammonia is produced from natural gas, the carbon disposal remains unaddressed.

    We really need a technically accurate paper or report to fully understand the additional energy and handling cost. But on the face of it, I prefer seeing tankers of anhydrous ammonia over liquid hydrogen or compressed hydrogen.

    This reads like a technically accurate paper:

    Please understand the 3x advantage of batteries transportation over hydrogen fuel cells remains a fundamental problem. Compared to fossil fuels, it may be less bad but the gross economics still don't make sense.

    Bob Wilson
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2018
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