Ammonia to Replace Diesel

Diesel is in short supply, maybe because of the war of Russia against Ukraine, maybe because of failing refineries or logistic issues. Its a horrible fuel, incredible that it is being used without adequate treatment of exhaust fumes in many countries. The soot and praticles enter the bloodstream and damage the brain and heart. Time to replace it.

For decades people have been suggesting to use Ammonia or NH3 as a replacement for diesel. It burns cleaner into H2O and N2, with a tiny fraction of NOx, but not more than diesel (because its a matter of temperature not fuel). Diesel is burned in air, so N2 + O2 + Ar etc. and in the heat some of the O2 reacts with N2 into NOx. To clean diesel exhauset from NOx though ammonia is often used.

You can make ammonia with wind turbines and other electricity sources. Its been done by farmers in the US, but it was shut down because of the eternal fight for cashflow : Banks did not like to lose the sales of gas based fertilizer (Ammonia). Now is a great time to restart the production. The return on investment energy wise can be huge. Of course the fact it makes farmers independent, it gives them fertilizer and a source of income, will be a problem, banks like to remain on top.

Diesel and ammonia are so close in combustibility diesel engines can run on it without much trouble. You do need a different LPG style fuel tank. Its called hydrofuel.

You could say “this is dangerous, it can’t be done” but it has been done. It is less dangerous to burn ammonia, as it doesn’t burn as easy, it is not toxic like fossil fuels (which are solvents of our nervous system). Busses and cars have run on it. You can always put in in a fuelcell (split off the H2 first). It is such a good idea that some have been promoting the entire economy run on ammonia.