preach UltraDork
10/9/23 8:46 a.m.

Just crossing my attention this weekend has been ammonia powered ICE.

Ammonia Engine Discourse 


So N2O and NOx is still an issue. Are they going to run DEF or, in this case, AEF? 

EVs are the current golden child of alternative to gasoline ICE, but we have seen or have infrastructure issues that are well documented.

Toyota had their race Corolla powered by hydrogen catch on fire from a liquid hydrogen leak (scary).

Porsche has their net zero, zero emmission biofuel but it costs $50/gal. I look forward to the racing series.


Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/9/23 8:57 a.m.

First thought is where is the cost-competitive green ammonia coming from? The extra step will take energy beyond the already intensive green hydrogen creation. For the fertilizer industry to decarbonize it will use massive amounts of ammonia, which will bring its cost down.. but will take some time. Not sure how the lifecycle carbon emissions look between this and BEV assuming both start with renewables.. EV likely is better but data isn't easy to come by.

[edit] for JDM this may make sense as they can import green ammonia from Australia more easily than building up their own RE infrastructure

GameboyRMH MegaDork
10/9/23 1:09 p.m.

Ammonia is probably a close 2nd on the "nightmare fuel, as in literal fuel of nightmares" ranking next to hydrogen. When's the last time a gas spill killed anyone with the fumes alone? I think last week in Illinois 5 people died when an anhydrous ammonia tanker crashed and cracked open.

There's a whole genre of YouTube videos clickbaiting people with "EV-killer" ideas. One easy debunking technique is to ask yourself if the concept involves burning a fuel in an ICE. If it does, then you're trying to beat a powertrain that can casually hit 90%+ efficiency with one that's maybe 50% efficient with F1-level tech. That's a nonstarter purely from an efficiency perspective.

Next, as with synthetic fuels, you need to ask yourself how much energy producing the fuel would require. How much grid electricity that could power an EV directly will be needed to produce and refine the fuel? How much energy will be needed to transport it to gas stations? That's all pure waste compared to charging an EV with power directly delivered via wires that are mostly already in place.

(For synthetic fuels, the answer was that as of 2020, to replace all fossil fuels use in transportation with synthetic fuels, world electricity production would need to be tripled or quadroupled to produce enough e-fuel)

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