GAC and Toyota develop ammonia engine for 90% CO2 reduction
Chinese state-owned manufacturer GAC has revealed a prototype engine that burns liquid ammonia, which could be an alternative fuel to electricity and hydrogen.
Developed in partnership with Toyota, the new-age ICE takes its inspiration from the maritime and haulage industries, which are exploring ammonia as an alternative to diesel for container ships and trucks.
Although not the first engine to be developed to run on ammonia, this is the first to be proposed for possible use in a passenger car.
At an annual technology presentation, GAC said it had overcome several issues, such as excess nitrogen emissions and an increase in combustion pressure compared with petrol engines.
“We’ve overcome the pain point of ammonia being difficult to burn quickly and put the fuel to use in the passenger car industry,” said Qi Hongzhong, an engineer at the GAC R&D centre in Guangzhou, China.
“Its value to society and for commercial uses are worth anticipating.”
Ammonia is a highly toxic substance used primarily as a fertiliser, but its combustible nature has brought it under the spotlight for future transport needs.
It possesses around half of the energy density of petrol, at 3.6kWh per litre, but emits no carbon, hydrocarbon or CO2 when combusted.
The traditional production method for ammonia is considered energy-intensive, but recent developments have led to small-scale production of ‘green’ ammonia, which uses renewable energy sources for carbon-free output.
More than two-thirds of the world’s annual production of ammonia is used in agriculture as fertiliser. It’s also used as a refrigerant gas and in the manufacturing of plastics, textiles, explosives and pesticides.
September 21, 2023