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#1 2019-04-23 21:24:47

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

In response to the "Power to Gas" ("Power to Methane") thread, I'm posting this "Power to Ammonia" thread.  Just to be clear, I think both of these schemes are at least 10 years away from industrialization.

Institute for Sustainable Process Technology - Power to Ammonia

Ammonia Industry - Power to Ammonia

If the "P2G" is feasible, then "P2A" is equally feasible.  The bonus benefit would be no CO2 emissions at any point in the NH3 manufacturing process if it was powered by the same wind and solar power sources that Louis is advocating for.

My personal belief is that some CO2 is desirable, provided it's completely captured and transformed into useful aerospace materials such as CF, CNT, and Graphene using EUV lasers to cleave the C from the O2 in a single step process to produce high purity Carbon powder that's free from metal or metal oxide contaminants that would weaken CF and CNT fibers through foreign material occlusions trapped within the fibers.

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#2 2019-04-24 07:58:54

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 605

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

For kdb512 re #1 ...

Thanks for opening this parallel topic!   I am hoping your and Louis will develop each of these ideas more fully.

In particular, I am hoping it will turn out that a new housing project, such as the one RobertDyck has imagined in the hill sides around Vancouver, could be supplied by a combination of methane for heating and ammonia for electricity and water.

Fiber optical cable would carry digital information.

There would be no need (that I can think of) for metal wiring to supply such a community.

In addition, there would be no need for a municipal power supply.

There would be no need for a municipal water supply.

There ** would ** be a need for a community store of methane and ammonia for backup purposes.

There ** would ** be a need for a community sewage treatment facility, until such time as waste can be processed at home locations.

If the two of you decide to pursue these competing/complementary systems, the resulting discussion should be interesting in the near term, but more importantly, it should build up a body of knowledge that would be helpful for urban planning, on Earth today, and on Mars tomorrow.

(th)

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#3 2019-04-24 18:46:02

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

tahanson43206,

In principle, if we were using Ammonia and Methane fuel cells, then there's no reason that we'd need an electrical grid for residential.  That would drastically reduce losses from long distance transmission.  We have a long way to go before we can achieve that.  I like the idea of a CO2 free power source that can be pumped around the country in liquid form, with little danger from gas explosions.  There'd be very little in the way of electrical power infrastructure that terrorists could go after, too, assuming it was all buried / sufficiently interconnected / sufficiently guarded at major pumping stations.  I want to merge the power and water systems to reduce infrastructure requirements.

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#4 2019-04-25 08:30:56

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 605

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

For kbd512 re #3 ...

In an earlier post (if I recall correctly) you mentioned the idea of sending water used for shipment of ammonia back to the source for re-use.  I am wondering if it would make sense to deliver the package and separate NH3 from H2O at the customer site.  As outlined in previous posts, pure H2O cannot be used for potable water (except in an emergency) because it lacks the minerals with which humans have evolved.  On the other hand, it should be usable for many home needs, such as kitchen/bathroom/laundry applications other than drinking.

What kind of equipment would be needed to perform the separation?  How effective is the separation?  My impression is that NO separation is perfect (except at the quantum level), so there will be some NH3 in the output water.

How much of the energy carried in the NH3 (intended for customer use) must be allocated for separation?

Finally ... In #3 above, you mentioned losses in shipment over long distance lines ... shipment of electricity over a grid results in losses due to resistance (and perhaps other factors).  Shipping energy in a pipe might be more efficient, but (I'm guessing here) there must be losses due to resistance in pipe lines.  By any chance, can you compare the two?

How much of the energy carried in the NH3 (intended for customer use) must be allocated for shipment?

My guess is that resistance losses in electrical lines vary over a range, given the metal used for transmission, the frequency of Alternating Current shipment, the voltage of AC at various points, and perhaps other factors.

Shipment of electricity over direct current zero resistance lines is (I gather) theoretically possible but not yet practical in the world we live in.

In the case of pipeline shipments, (again just guessing), I would presume resistance to shipment of liquid varies depending upon diameter of the pipe, nature of the liquid being shipped, temperature of the liquid, nature of the wall material lining, and perhaps other factors.

(th)

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#5 2019-04-25 19:04:57

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

tahanson43206,

After thinking a bit more about what return of the carrier water supply would entail, it's probably best to just dump the effluent from the separator through the existing sewage / waste water system.  The water treatment plants already capture and reuse or repurpose Ammonia, either to actually treat the water to kill microorganisms or as reclamation product for use in agriculture.  The separators vary in effectiveness, leaving up to a few hundred ppm to less than 50ppm when run through multi-pass / multi-phase systems.  There are so many different methods for separation that it's difficult to put a number on the power required to strip a given quantity of NH3 with a given level of efficiency.  Simplicity, reliability, and routine maintenance are the most important factors here.  We're not trying to turn household combined heat and power fuel cells into miniature waste water treatment systems.  This is about CO2-free power provisioning with minimal transmission losses.

It could be the case that we're just better off accepting the losses from transmission of electricity and we should centralize the fuel cell stacks within traditional power plants.  I also tend to think that cheap and easy to recycle catalysts are better than absolute efficiency, except where necessary, as in aviation applications.  That does away with the requirement to design, fabricate, and maintain miniature separators or install any new infrastructure.  It also limits who has to understand how to handle Ammonia.  I don't see this as a problem for agriculture or aviation, where those involved are fairly well trained and have experience handling volatile chemicals.  It's not rocket science, but we already have enough accidents with gasoline and electricity.

Doped CNT is at least as good as Copper or Aluminum, but substantially lighter and potentially a lot cheaper because it doesn't readily oxidize or suffer from mechanical failure nearly as easily as metals.  I see this as far more practical than room temperature superconductors, given the current state-of-the-art in this field of physics.  This is yet another useful Carbon product that limits the requirement for greater quantities of energy-intensive metal manufacturing.

In closing, we have a variety of fundamentally sound CO2-free alternatives to burning hydrocarbon fuels.  That means we understand the basic design principles and underlying physics involved, we know how to make, we know how to maintain, we know how to recycle or repurpose, and the economics of the range of solutions are within the realm of feasibility and competitive with existing solutions.  I refer to this requirement set as the requisite knowledge and infrastructure package.  Any new solutions that replace hydrocarbon fuels will have to closely adhere to well-developed knowledge and infrastructure packages that industrialized societies have already mastered.  The speculative but potentially revolutionary technologies like fusion are far into the future because the knowledge and infrastructure packages are nearly nonexistent.

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#6 2019-04-25 20:58:38

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,118

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

Even with those that have a septic tank the use of the water in the toilet would not be harmful to its purpose as you have described.
Since most water lines, gas lines enter through the basements of a home a simple amonnia detector would alarm if a leak has occured.
The water created from the fuel cell could be used to wash dishes or to bath in.
So a home sized cracker and fuel cell is all that one would need to purchase.

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#7 2019-04-25 21:26:39

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

SpaceNut,

In principle a molecular sieve could handle the Ammonia separation with only as much power as is required to push the Ammonia liquor through the separator material and potentially some heat to cause the sieve material to give up the Ammonia thereafter (depends on what the molecular sieve material is).  Thereafter, the cracker uses heat and a catalyst to strip the Hydrogen.  The question is how much H2O you're willing to dump into the fuel cell along with the cracked Hydrogen.  Some humidity is a requirement, but too much is just as bad as too little.  There's no such thing as "perfect" separation, as tahanson43206 already noted.  The plasma crackers aren't "perfect", either, but still pretty efficient and effective- more than good enough for an Alkaline (cheap catalyst) stationary fuel cell.

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#8 2019-04-26 04:48:07

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 605

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

For SpaceNut #6

Thanks for adding perspective on how shipping water might be used after separation.  It would be helpful to know more about the potential risks of bringing residual ammonia into contact with the skin.  There might well be health advantages for using water containing a small amount of ammonia.  On the other hand, I'm guessing (at this point) that aroma of ammonia will be detectable, so the effectiveness of the separation process would be apparent  to the user.

For kbd512 #7

Thanks for adding perspective on the separation process.

The recent news of an ammonia spill in Illinois are a reminder of the risks involved.  This particular spill was of anhydrous ammonia:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/ … story.html

Firefighter among 7 hospitalized with 'life-threatening injuries' after ammonia spill in Beach Park

Investigators think a tractor was towing a pair of two-ton tanks containing anhydrous ammonia when they began to leak. Covelli said investigators do not believe the vehicle was involved in a traffic collision.

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#9 2019-04-26 08:40:41

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,492
Website

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

If you have ever personally used ammonia solution as a household cleanser,  you already know what is safe,  and how to detect it.  They sell it at the grocery store,  with solution strengths in the 3-5% range. 

Your urine also contains a little ammonia in it. 

At low percentage strengths (under 5%),  ammonia presents little to no hazard.  That is both for exposure,  and for wastewater processing.  However,  to use it as a fuel in some process,  you must handle far higher concentrations. 

Myself,  I don't know what an ammonia fuel cell might require,  but as a rocket propellant,  anhydrous (100%) ammonia is necessary,  something which is quite hazardous.

Anhydrous ammonia storage is similar to propane storage,  in that modest pressures (~250 psia) keep it in liquid form at Earthly ambient temperatures in the temperate zones.  The acute toxicity is what makes ammonia storage different from propane storage:  exquisite care must be taken to keep the tanks safe from damage,  and to keep the population safe in the event of a leak. 

At MW = 17,  ammonia is lighter than air (MW 28.97),  but it covers a lot of ground on the wind before it rises much.  At MW = 44,  propane is heavier than air;  it is a fire hazard,  but not an acute poison the way ammonia is.

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#10 2019-04-26 18:42:26

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

GW,

Direct Ammonia Fuel Cells require high purity Ammonia.  The Ammonia will inevitably have some water mixed in with it, some water vapor is required to moderate the reaction rate and to remove waste heat generated, but humidity still has to be controlled.

No high energy density chemical fuel that we know of is completely "safe", if that's what people are concerned with.  Most are dangerous in their own specific ways and Ammonia is no different in that regard.  Ammonia is toxic to humans.  This has been mentioned over and over again by you, me, and others here.  All manual refueling operations mandate some minimal form of protection.  You already mentioned what the primary danger with volatile hydrocarbons happens to be- they can easily explode if an ignition source is present.  Since that's what they were intended to do, I see little point in worrying about what will happen if they're mistreated.

As far as efficiently making Ammonia with fuel cells is concerned, fast forward to 17:05 in the video link below to see the "box" that indicates what we have to work with (I think the link I provided starts at the correct point in the presentation, but if it doesn't the point in the presentation mentioned above is the relevant portion of the video):

Jens Nørskov: Generation of Ammonia Using Solar Energy | GCEP Symposium – October 18, 2017

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#11 2019-04-26 19:26:23

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 605

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

For kbd512 ... thank you for #10 above, and particularly to the talk by  Jens Norskov ... The slides were most helpful. 

I came away with the impression that the technology described is feasible, but I need to watch the video again (and listen more carefully) to determine if it is in practical use anywhere.

However, while watching the video, I noticed an ad for another video, by a gent whose name is familiar to me.   I clicked on that video, after Jens was finished, and confirmed that the creator of the video is indeed the gent I know from an association with an electronics activity.

This has nothing to do with Energy Storage (Ammonia or otherwise) but it might be of interest to NewMars forum readers.  Apparently the video has 1.2 million views, if I have interpreted the views count code correctly: "What is a Tensor"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5liqUk0ZTw

(th)

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#12 2019-05-31 18:58:46

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,118

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

tahanson43206 wrote:

For kbd512 re #9 ...

Thank you for the link to the video on heat trap conversion of light to electricity, using carbon nanotubes.

There are probably many applications of carbon nanotubes (and you've listed some already) but this is one that really connects for me.

The presenter did not discuss efficiency, but since the process shown is operating at the quantum level, efficiency has the potential to be high.

Moreover, (if I understood the presentation correctly) there is NO heat lost in the process.  That seems (way) too good to be true, so I'll be watching for further discussion of this discovery.

***
Over in SpaceNut's "poverty" topic, I tried to introduce a concept for alleviating poverty by moving ownership of production of selected chemicals from gigantic corporations to a large number of individuals or families.  The impetus for this concept was a post by void, reporting on discovery of greatly improved performance of catalysts used for chemical reactions.  The author of the article to which void linked appeared to think that the cost of setting up chemical production facilities might be reduced from current levels, which might open up the prospect of smaller facilities.

I'm curious to hear your assessment of the potential for the discovery, and (in particular) your assessment of the potential for development of income producing capabilities at the small business level, as an alternative to the megacorporate level we see today.

I apologize for departing from the topic, but I'm doubtful you would see my message anywhere else.

(th)


This is actually what I am looking to do but what I am finding is the up front costs that do not go away as you use the system to provide an energy source for the home use. The fuel cells are not something that one can make as a do it yourself but that does not mean that I will stop learning about these things.

The same holds true for the first system to make the amonia followed by the cracker to free up the hydrogen for use in the fuel cell.

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#13 2019-05-31 21:32:32

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

SpaceNut,

You can't make a crankshaft for a Chevy V8 in your garage that has a dimensional spec within the width of a red blood cell, either.  There are good reasons why our economy uses specialized labor and production equipment.  It allows us to make things that no single person could afford to make, either in terms of time or money invested or both.  Do what I do and write and call your representatives to tell them you want practical and affordable American-made fuel cell powered vehicles.  If enough people petition a company like GM and actually purchase the resultant products, those crazy capitalists generally respond to the demands of the market.

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#14 2019-06-01 07:36:28

tahanson43206
Member
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 605

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

For kbd512 ... Your observation about what can be done in a garage is certainly true today. 

However, people around the world are working on the problem of atomic level assembly, and eventually (if we survive as a species) such devices will be installed in homes.  My understanding is that a tree (for example) is doing exactly that.  Hopefully the assemblers that show up in the future will be faster than biological assemblers, but they might not, because Nature has been working on atomic level assembly for a long time.

In any case, the owner of the device will NOT be doing anything hands-on, except feeding the intake port and collecting finished product from the output.

I do like your idea of feeding "demand" into the capitalist system, and indeed, posting your message is helping by expanding the number of people who are starting to think about the ideas you've been describing.

In another topic, you provided a link which I will follow over the weekend.

***
Speaking of the capitalist system ... it is about to experience a set of challenges, as the global supply chains shut down.   

(th)

kbd512 wrote:

SpaceNut,

You can't make a crankshaft for a Chevy V8 in your garage that has a dimensional spec within the width of a red blood cell, either.  There are good reasons why our economy uses specialized labor and production equipment.  It allows us to make things that no single person could afford to make, either in terms of time or money invested or both.  Do what I do and write and call your representatives to tell them you want practical and affordable American-made fuel cell powered vehicles.  If enough people petition a company like GM and actually purchase the resultant products, those crazy capitalists generally respond to the demands of the market.

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#15 2019-06-01 10:12:26

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,118

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

I have many startup shops that have bought the bridge ports and cnc machines to do what you say can not be done without being a big corporation...Oh and if you need a crank shaft to get one from a junkyard to make use of if you can not make one....or buy a new one to fill that purpose.

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#16 2019-06-01 16:34:51

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

tahanson43206,

The global supply chain is not shutting down.  It's just changing.  The only constant is change.  Those who learn to adapt and overcome will move forward, while those who refuse will stay stuck in the past until the entire rest of the world drags them kicking and screaming into the 21st century or until their world collapses around them.

I don't want to learn how to mass manufacture CNT's in my garage.  Quite frankly, it's a waste of time.  What I want is a cheap and plentiful fabrication material that I can purchase for a nominal amount of money from an online store by the roll, delivered to my door, that I can then form into an aircraft or car or home furnishing part with a bit of epoxy and a mold that I make myself, for my own purposes.  I don't want to make fuel cells in my garage, either.  I want a highly automated factory filled with specially trained workers and purpose-built equipment and tooling, like Tonawanda, to crap out fuel cells by the tens of millions, for distribution across the entire planet.  On that note, I'm not about to mine and smelt Aluminum alloy because that's also an utter waste of time.  I can buy the various alloys I need, pre-cut with a water jet or laser from a local shop that fabricates Aluminum parts from your CAD drawings for reasonable cost.

SpaceNut,

Exactly.  People don't make crankshafts in their garage.  They buy them from specialty manufacturers who use specialized tooling to make such parts.

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#17 2019-06-01 21:29:47

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,118

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

They actually do for there own rebuilds of vehicles which own the equipment but thats just being a new englander. What others throw out as old is repurposed and still in use...

Thats ok I am not up to fabricating any fuels cells for quite awhile but might use the hydrogen on demand maybe in the future for a gas converted generator is I can do it safely...

Could This Hydrogen-Powered Drone Be the Future of Transportation?

Interesting flying design more like a toy with the number of props being used....

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#18 2019-06-13 20:32:49

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

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#19 2019-06-13 21:21:03

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

It's kinda funny to me that DoE gave up so easily on LNH3.  They knew it had potential and that we already have quite a bit of infrastructure in place to use it.  The technological issues pertaining to the size / weight and electrical power consumed by conventional Hydrogen crackers have since been resolved by the plasma cracker technology pioneered by the Japanese.  Safety is an issue with any liquid fuel, though perhaps more acute due to Ammonia's toxicity.  Even so, as stated in the study, we've learned to live with the safety issues associated with liquid hydrocarbon fuels, so why not liquid hydronitrogen fuels as well?  It seems like the opportunities for synergistic operations combining advanced structural materials production with advanced liquid fuels production are wide open here, though only time will tell.

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#20 2019-06-14 18:29:13

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,118

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

The DoE is not in control of the industry that delivers the energy to the people so I am not surprised that they have so much with R&D and yet the industry still is churning out hugh profits and refusing to change.

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#21 2019-06-15 15:29:41

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

Unfortunately, flow batteries are also of little to no utility for transportation purposes and transportation represents nearly half of all CO2 emissions.  Therefore, I will again reiterate the need for general purpose fuel cells suitable for motor vehicles / ships / aircraft, along with a general purpose Carbon-free chemical fuel that produces the feed stock for a general purpose structural material, such as CNT, derived from existing hydrocarbons extracted from the Earth or CO2 and water.

The "new thinking" required here pertains to using all the chemicals created through the fuel synthesis process, to include CO2.  We don't synthesize Methane at any significant scale and we never have.  We extract Methane from oil wells.  We do synthesize Ammonia in massive quantities and already have pipelines in place to pump it from the ports in the south to the Haber-Bosch plants in the heartland of America.  The same stainless steel pipes that transport Methane extracted from the oil fields can also transport Ammonia.

Ammonia Energy Content:
5.17MWh/t (burning it with Oxygen in a gas turbine)
5.91MWh/t (reacting it with Oxygen in a fuel cell)

Energy Expenditure to Synthesize Ammonia by Feedstock:
Natural Gas - 7.8MWh/t (7.8kWh/kg)
Coal - 10.6MWh/t (10.6kWh/kg)
Fuel Oil - 11.7MWh/t (11.7kWh/kg)

CO2 Emissions to Synthesize Ammonia / NH3 by Feedstock:
Natural Gas - 1.6t of CO2 per 1t of NH3
Coal - 3.0t of CO2 per 1t of NH3
Fuel Oil - 3.6t of CO2 per 1t of NH3

CO2 Emissions from burning CH4: 2.75t of CO2 per 1t of CH4 (2.75kg of CO2 per 1kg of CH4)

CO2 Emissions from burning or reacting NH3: 0t of CO2 per 1t of NH3 (0kg of CO2 per 1kg of NH3)

If we add in energy for drilling / transportation / pumping the Natural Gas, we probably need to input around 2 to 3 times as much energy as we get out.  With current technology and power from solar and wind resources, that's a realistically achievable figure.  The 67 times as much energy input for liquefaction of CH4 alone, never mind synthesis operations, is not.  We don't store gaseous CH4 in extreme quantities, we pump it and burn it immediately in a gas turbine or we liquefy it to make it 67 times as dense as CH4 at STP.

Ammonia as a Transportation Fuel - Well-to-Wheels

According to US EIA, in 2018 America burned through 142.86 billion gallons / 3.4 billion barrels of gasoline.  That's 391.4 million gallons per day.  Each gallon of gasoline burned produces around 9.07kg of CO2.  That's 12,957,402,000kg of CO2 (~13 megatons).  If the Carbon was completely recovered from the Haber-Bosch process and EUV Carbon splitting, that's 3,536,075,006kg (~3.5 megatons) of Carbon feed stock for CNT.

Assume that the average weight of an American-sized motor vehicle, aka "a real car", is 4,000lbs.  Assume that the engine weighs 500lbs, all the plastic crap and miscellaneous garbage weighs another 250lbs, and the wheels and power train components weighs another 250lbs.  That's enough Carbon to entirely replace the chassis for 3,898,649 cars per year.  Last year America produced 18 million new cars.  Now imagine that a car chassis made from CNT is only half the weight of steel for the same strength, even though that's absurdly wrong.  We've covered 7,797,298, nearly half of all new car production, using advanced CNT recycled from Haber-Bosch CO2 or simply burning oil at the Ammonia plant to obtain the necessary input energy for the process and recycled steel from existing cars.  Now add in all the Diesel and other Petroleum products.  We can easily cover all required structural materials for transportation while making the Ammonia-based fuels to power them, emissions free.

There are more than 270 million registered vehicles in the US, most of which spit out CO2 from burning some kind of hydrocarbon.  Capturing emissions from individual tailpipes or powering all of them with existing battery technology and electrical power infrastructure is an absurdity.  We only need to centralize the CO2 emissions to solve the emissions problem.  Use the captured CO2 from the Haber-Bosch process to make the base stock for CNT at the same time and we can achieve CO2-free transportation within the next two decades.

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#22 2019-06-15 20:43:41

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,118

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

Was surprised to see that the fuel cell to turbine energy was not greater...
While the energy sources were carbon based for NH3 synthesize, its just that to which we are trying to reduce so that is what needs correcting.

Its the creation and fuel cells that are the costly part of its use for energy that is the issue...mobile, home or in flight used.....

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#23 2019-06-23 14:09:34

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,724

Re: Power to Ammonia for Energy Storage

As Natural Gas from the Earth to feed the Haber-Bosch process is depleted, this process promises to step in and replace Haber-Bosch with room temperature reactions that require far less energy input:

New process could slash energy demands of fertilizer, nitrogen-based chemicals

Apparently, there's also still room for improvement upon the existing conventional Haber-Bosch process:

Haber-Bosch power consumption slashed

At the end of the day, NH3 is the only practical Carbon-free (dependent upon the Hydrogen source, obviously) liquid fuel that we know how to mass produce / transport / store that could serve as a realistic replacement for liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

Batteries are great whenever energy density / specific energy requirements are not inordinately high.  Unfortunately, realistic transportation power generation technologies that can provide like-kind replacement of gasoline / diesel / kerosene are few and far between.  Some level of acceptance of what science can realistically provide, using current and near-term technology, is required here.  If we manage to produce a battery technology that doesn't cost as much as an entire car to make, with an energy density of at least 2.5kW/kg, which matches gasoline combustion engines, when the efficiencies achievable by common piston engines is taken into account, and isn't completely impractical to implement on a planet-wide scale, then let's use that.

Until that battery technology happens, even in a small scale lab experiment, for which precisely zero evidence exists, let's try to focus on something better than a combustion engine that's achievable using real technology.

Haber-Bosch works at a planet-wide industrial scale.  Scaling up the process is only a matter of building more plants.  Future work would improve upon the energy efficiency of these plants, which are already nearing the minimum theoretical energy required.

Check out the "Benchmarks" tab on this page:

Industrial Efficiency Technology Database - Ammonia

Plasma crackers for Hydrogen fueling stations work.

For motor vehicles, small fuel cells or unconventional combustion engines, such as the linear free-piston engines / generators, combined with smaller Lithium-ion batteries that provide bursts of power required for brisk acceleration could work.

For aircraft and ships, lighter and stronger materials, such as CNT's, combined with fuel cells and NH3 fuels could work.

For fuel cells, cheaper catalysts could work sufficiently well for motor vehicles:

For hydrogen fuel cells, mundane materials might be almost as good as pricey platinum

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