• DJ

    Interesting technology. There are just a couple of problems. From Wikipedia:

    “[T]he gas itself is caustic and can cause serious health damage. The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set a 15-minute exposure limit for gaseous ammonia of 35 ppm by volume in the environmental air and an 8-hour exposure limit of 25 ppm by volume. Exposure to very high concentrations of gaseous ammonia can result in lung damage and death.” This would make filling th tank (and traffic accidents) problematic.

    “Because NH3 boils at -33 °C, the liquid must be stored under pressure or at low temperature.” So those “tanks” in the back of the truck aren’t just extra liquid tanks.

    On the upside: “Ammonia does not burn readily or sustain combustion, except under narrow fuel to air mixtures from 15-25% air.” So explosions are not likely, even in tanker trucks carrying the stuff. Toxicity is its major pitfall.

    Also ammonia is made from hydrogen. At present, the source of this hydrogen is most often natural gas (methane). But H2 can also be made through electrolysis of water as a storage device for alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, and tide. The energy efficiency of any of these processes was not explored in the article.

  • Joe Hartley

    Caustic doesn’t begin to express it. Ammonia rips the hydrogen right off of water and lets free 0H radicals circulate. Imagine breathing in caustic lye, as well as having it all over your skin, if there’s an accident.

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