In what could be good news for the growth and adoption of hydrogen-fuel-cell-vehicles, an Australian agency says it has developed a way to create hydrogen from ammonia – and ammonia is far easier to store and transport than hydrogen. In fact, Ammonia stores almost twice as much energy as liquid hydrogen.
Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, an independent government agency responsible for scientific research, says it has created a metal membrane that filters out pure hydrogen gas from ammonia. It can then be dispensed into fuel cell cars, buses and even trucks. CSIRO says it recently powered Toyota’s Mirai and Hyundai’s Nexo fuel cell electric vehicles using locally produced, ultra-high-purity hydrogen.
This technology links hydrogen production, distribution, and delivery in the form of a modular unit that can be used at, or near, a refuelling station. It could 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.
This means that the transportation and storage of hydrogen – currently a complex and relatively expensive process – is simplified, allowing bulk hydrogen to be transported economically and efficiently in the form of liquid ammonia.
“This is a watershed moment for energy,” said CSIRO chief executive Larry Marshall.