The aviation industry is diligently working to make flights efficient and lucrative for future generations, thus aiming to pursue greener skies. One of the major problems in the sky is air pollution, and the fuel used in aircraft plays a major part in boosting it. However, many modern airliners are using hydrogen-powered engines that have efficient fuel systems and are developed with the vision of sustainability in mind.
With this in mind, an Australian company, “Aviation H2″, discovered a new system to ensure fuel sustainability in the air. It has proposed to use green ammonia instead of Jet A1 fuel and that too in its newly built passenger jet having nine seats, which is planned to be developed by the mid of 2023. Only a few adjustments will be required to convert a regular jet engine into an ammonia-based engine, thereby significantly reducing the carbon footprint on the environment.
However, this concept of incorporating ammonia into the jet engines is also a very cheap process as it is based on renewable energy sources. But there’s a little complication in the reaction of ammonia with atmospheric oxygen. When ammonia gets combined with the atmospheric oxygen in the air, the hydrogen in the ammonia becomes separated in the formation of water. During this process, a small percentage of nitrogen becomes oxidized in the heat of engines and thus forms nitrous oxides, which are harmful to the environment. Keeping this in mind, the director of Aviation H2 said, “Yes, it gives off nitrous oxides, but we can control those with special processes.” We don’t just squirt the ammonia in there and burn it. There are certain things we have to do to it, and there are certain controls we have to put in place inside the fuel control system.”
With that being said, the discovery of ammonia-based engines is considered a breakthrough. Ammonia is a very reliable product that has a wide range of applications in fertilization and the decarbonization processes. These ammonia-based engines are more efficient than hydrogen-based engines because hydrogen can be mixed with water through electrolysis and then be used for transportation purposes. But alternatively, when nitrogen is combined with hydrogen, then it produces ammonia, which is more sustainable and efficient both in terms of efficient energy consumption and cost control procedures.
Christof Mayer, the director of Aviation H2, embarked on the importance of their new proposed discovery and said, “Hydrogen gas is very light for the energy it holds, and liquid hydrogen is a more compact form. But the tanks are big and heavy. We certainly don’t discount liquid hydrogen or any other form of hydrogen as an option. We’re not shutting those down. We’re just going with ammonia for now. It’s the simplest conversion, and that intrinsically will make it the most reliable, and that in itself makes it intrinsically the safest.”