Just when you're ready to write hydrogen off completely, a small company announces a new breakthrough. ZAP Cars and Apollo Energy have just announced the successful demonstration of a patented "Ammonia Cracker" technology for use as a method to power zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell cars.
"Apollo's fuel cell technology can jump start the hydrogen economy," said Mr. Aronsson. "The easiest and least expensive way to move Hydrogen from Point A to Point B is to use ammonia. Seventy-five percent of ammonia (NH3) is hydrogen. Ammonia can be added inexpensively as a component of today's gas stations, without costly hydrogen extractors, allowing the refueling of fuel cell cars today, years ahead of other hydrogen solutions."
Mr. Aronsson said ammonia-based fuel cell present important benefits over existing hydrogen fuel cell designs. "Ammonia is the second most common chemical produced in the world and can be made from natural gas or renewable energy," he said. "It is shipped by truck, rail, pipeline, ship and barge and is commonly used as fertilizer or in household refrigerators and can be competitive in price to gasoline. Ammonia fueling stations could be set up at very little cost, as the infrastructure already exists throughout the country. By making weekly deliveries of ammonia to gas stations in the 100 largest metropolitan areas of the U.S., ammonia distributors could reach 70 percent of the population. Former plans, proposed by others, of equipping gas stations with mini-factories for producing hydrogen by electrolysis at a cost of $1 million per gas station, could be replaced by this new, low-cost system. The new fueling system would make it possible for thousands of ZAP Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars to operate throughout the country, silently, and with zero emissions."
If this pans out, one big hurdle to the hydrogen economy has been cleared.