These MIT Grads Have Created A New Type Of Fuel From Common Household Cleaning Chemicals

Amogy, a company specializing in ammonia-based fuel, has made a significant achievement by testing a semi-truck fueled entirely by sustainable ammonia.

The company was founded by four MIT Ph.D. graduates just three years ago. The test was conducted on the campus of Stony Brook University in New York, where a retrofitted 2018 Freightliner Cascadia truck was tested for several hours. In just eight minutes of fueling, the truck could store 900 kilowatt hours of net electric energy due to Amogy’s proprietary ammonia-to-power technology.

Ammonia is a compound composed of nitrogen and hydrogen that is abundant in nature and can be artificially produced. It has several properties that make it an excellent base for green fuel. When burned, it does not produce carbon pollution as it does not contain any carbon. It is simple to store and transport and the only byproducts it produces are water and nitrogen.

“Ammonia presents a clear path to a zero-carbon fuel value chain across all heavy-duty transportation sectors thanks to existing transportation and storage infrastructure. 200 million tons of ammonia are already produced and transported each year, making it an ideal and accessible alternative fuel,” Amogy said in its press release.

The environmental benefits could be tremendous if ammonia can power large trucks reliably. Medium and heavy-sized trucks accounted for 22% of the world’s transportation pollution in 2020, producing over 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide. While electric passenger cars are becoming widely adopted, the issue of truck pollution continues to challenge environmental advocates.

Amogy, based in Brooklyn, New York, is one of many companies that are leading the way in sustainable ammonia fuel technology. Amogy is a member of the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA), a trade group that promotes the responsible use of ammonia in a sustainable energy economy alongside over 100 other companies.

Other AEA members, such as Starfire Energy, have received millions of dollars in grants to explore carbon-free ammonia production, while GenCell Energy has also received millions of dollars.

Hydrofuel Canada, a company based in Ontario, has partnered with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to produce reports on ammonia-based fuels for the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia.

“Ammonia as a sustainable fuel can be used in all types of combustion engines, gas turbines, burners with only small modifications and directly in fuel cells, which is a significant advantage compared to other types of fuels,” states one of Hydrofuel Canada’s reports.

“Compared to gasoline vehicles, ammonia-fueled vehicles do not produce direct CO2 emission during operation.”

Amogy has no plans to stop at ammonia-powered trucks. The company plans to test an ammonia-powered tugboat later this year while also working on an inland barge retrofit project with Southern Devall, a shipping company.

According to a company press release, “With several successful technology demonstrations completed and a dual presence in the U.S. and Europe, Amogy is making solid progress toward its goal of reducing more than 5 billion metric tons [5.5 billion U.S. tons] of [carbon dioxide equivalent] emission by 2040.”

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