Week of March 7, 2021
Possible Solution to Global Warming
That headline should get your attention. If you have been reading my blogs since the beginning (July 2020) you know of my belief that technology advancements will eliminate the problem of Global Warming in the next few years just like advanced crop-breeding eliminated the predicted calamities in “Limits to Growth” which in the 1970s predicted a huge drop in world population by 2020 due to starvation. In my opinion “Global Warming” is another “Tempest in a
Teapot” type disaster brought on by much the same crew of political activists responsible for Limits to Growth. They maintain this time that uncontrolled burning of fossil fuels is rapidly increasing the level of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere, and that the CO2 as a greenhouse gas is raising the Earth’s temperature, melting the glaciers and icecaps, and raising the Earth’s sea level three feet by the year 2100. A three-foot rise in sea level would have terrible consequences in low lying areas of the world and hence would be a major disaster, if it were true.
As it turns out the relationship between CO2 emission and average world temperature is quite complex involving CO2 dissolved in the oceans and adsorbed by plants, so the world’s average temperature shown in figure 1 below has been increasing but not as much as predicted.
Figure 1 – Worlds Average Temperature Increase relative to Global Warming Models
As you can see during the 1950s and 1960s the average temperatures actually dropped even though CO2 emissions were booming during that period. Likewise, in the early twentieth century temperatures are not increasing as fast as called for by the measured CO2 emissions. If the measured trend continues, we expect the Earth’s sea level to increase by only one foot by the year 2100. This would be bad but probably not catastrophic.
So, we have tried to redefine the problem, but it is still serious. What can we do about it? As it turns out there might be a simple solution to reduce CO2 emissions. A new technology advancement has appeared, and it is in the form of a refrigerator-sized device invented by a Canadian, Roger Gordon, and marketed by Green HN3 a small company in Ontario, Canada. This device converts air, water, and electricity into ammonia (NH3) a caustic substance, but a workable fuel that burns and generates only nitrogen and water as by products. The world has been turning air and water into ammonia via the Haber-Bosch process for over a century but at very high pressures and temperatures, and fairly inefficiently. Evidently the Green NH3 process does it with a conversion efficiency of 90% and at a cost of 16 to 18 cents per liter. A prototype conversion unit with its inventors is shown at Ontario Technical University in figure 2 below.
Figure 2 – Dr. Ibrahim Dincer and Roger Gordon with Green NH3 Conversion Unit at Ontario Tech University
I don’t know what exactly is in the conversion unit, but I assume it separates the nitrogen out of air and electrolyzes water to obtain the hydrogen. It then pressurizes these gases and feeds them over a catalyst that generates ammonia, NH3. This is the same as the Haber-Bosch process, but evidently the Green NH3 process is vastly simpler and more efficient. If this is true it could be a game-changer with respect to Global Warming. As you recall the major problem with renewable energy sources is their lack of continuity. Windmills and solar farms only produce their rated power about 35 % of the time. This means we need backup power and in most of the world this ultimately means nuclear fission or natural gas fired turbines.
But assume that our windmills and solar farms are designed so that the surplus power available at any given time is fed into a Green NH3 conversion unit. This unit generates and stores gaseous ammonia which can then be used on-site to generate standby power using an ammonia-fueled fuel cell or combustion engine-generator. Suddenly our totally clean renewable electric powerplants can operate 100 % of the time and easily store energy for the rest of the electrical network. I suspect that storing ammonia is vastly cheaper than building large banks of batteries, but it is still too early for cost comparisons.
Likewise, ammonia can be liquified and stored in pressurized tanks just like propane, and then distributed as a liquid to power cars, trucks, ships, and airplanes. However, there are some issues with ammonia as a fuel. See figure 3 below for a comparison between ammonia and other prospective fuels.
Figure 3 – Comparison of Candidate Combustion Fuels from Ref 2
First of all, the heating value of ammonia is 40,571 BTU/gal versus 116,090 BTU/gal for gasoline (7,987 BTU/lb versus 18,680 BTU/lb for gasoline) so some performance lost is expected, especially for airplanes. Second, the minimum ignition energy for ammonia is significantly higher than any of the other candidate fuels so often internal combustion engines running on ammonia need to be started using propane, methane, or gasoline and then switched to ammonia after full power is reached. Natural world experience confirms this.
So, is ammonia a viable replacement for fossil fuels in a future zero carbon emissions world? I suspect that automobiles and light trucks can switch to ammonia fairly easily. Fuel tanks would resemble today’s propane tanks and have about three times the volume of today’s gasoline tanks and a small gasoline tank would be retained for startup. Other than that, CO2 emissions from cars and light trucks could be reduced by over 90%. Diesel engines in heavy trucks and ships have the same combustion issues and have demonstrated good performance using “pilot oil” injected at ignition to stabilize the combustion process. This enables diesel engines to operate at the same efficiency but with over 90% reduction in CO2 emissions. Heavy trucks might want to consider ammonia fuel cells for the increased efficiency available and to totally eliminate CO2 emissions. However, if all cars and trucks switched to ammonia fuel cells the world would quickly run out of platinum group metals needed for fuel cell catalysts.
The U.S. Military has already done an alternative fuels trade and is focused on ammonia as its future clean replacement fuel for diesel and gasoline in its overseas outlying bases.
Airplanes are very sensitive to fuel weight so liquid ammonia probably cannot compete with liquid hydrogen in the long run. Heating value of hydrogen is 52,217 BTU/lb versus 7987 BTU/lb for ammonia so ammonia may replace Jet A for short to medium range airplanes, but long-haul airplanes will eventually switch to liquid hydrogen.
How real is Green NH3 and will it be a key factor in eliminating global warming? I have only been tracking Green NH3 for a few weeks, but they appear to be moving out fast. They are merging with FuelPositive Corporation and are now listed on both the Toronto and Chicago Stock exchanges. See the newswire article enclosed below.
“TORONTO, March 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FuelPositive Corporation (TSX.V: NHHH) (OTCQB: ZNNMF) (“FuelPositive” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on its progress towards the completion of its acquisition of the sustainable and hydrocarbon-free NH3 technology it has been pursuing.
Ian Clifford, CEO of FuelPositive commented: “We have now completed the last material discussion and negotiation with Dr. Ibrahim Dincer and Roger Gordon related to the acquisition and share distribution to the parties. Throughout this diligence process over the past six weeks, it is apparent to us that the operational technology of interest to FuelPositive resides with Dr. Dincer and his research team at Ontario Tech University.”
The Company adjusted its original offer to provide for Mr. Gordon’s legacy work, and to reflect Dr. Dincer and his team’s current essential leadership role on the operational and patent pending sustainable NH3 technology. This offer was accepted by Dr. Dincer only. As a result, FuelPositive has restructured the transaction to focus the acquisition on the current and future sustainable NH3 intellectual property developed by Dr. Dincer. In consideration for the acquisition, the Company expects to issue 50,000,000 common shares to Dr. Dincer and his team.
Dr. Dincer commented: “As our negotiations reach a positive conclusion, we look forward to a dynamic and successful partnership with FuelPositive on commercializing our ground-breaking technology and marketing it around the world. My team and I are excited to continue to build upon the intellectual property, and proprietary systems and techniques we have been developing over the past several years.” Dr. Dincer continued: “From my position in academia, I have the privilege of seeing the cutting edge in NH3 development globally, and the system we have developed is set to lead the way in the commercialization of emissions-free ammonia production.”
FuelPositive is at arms-length from Dr. Dincer and his team, which should allow for a quick and smooth process to complete final steps. Completion of the acquisition remains subject to the execution of definitive documentation, and the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange. The Company does not anticipate that the acquisition will result in the creation of a new insider or a change of control of the Company, within the meaning of applicable securities laws.
The Company will provide further information on the transaction as documentation is finalized.
FuelPositive is committed to providing commercially viable and sustainable energy solutions across a broad spectrum of industries and applications.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
All statements, other than statements of historical fact, contained in this press release including, but not limited to (i) generally, or the “About FuelPositive” paragraph which essentially describes the Corporation’s outlook and objectives, constitute “forward-looking information” or “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of certain securities laws, and are based on expectations, estimates and projections as of the time of this press release. Forward looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Corporation as of the time of such statements, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. These estimates and assumptions may prove to be incorrect.
Many of these uncertainties and contingencies can directly or indirectly affect, and could cause, actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in any forward-looking statements. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking statements are provided for the purpose of providing information about management’s expectations and plans relating to the future. The Corporation disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements or to explain any material difference between subsequent actual events and such forward-looking statements, except to the extent required by applicable law.”
My reading of this article is that Dr. Dincer and his team at Ontario Tech University made significant improvements to Roger Gordons original device and it is now ready for commercial development. It may be too early to invest in this company, but it certainly has potential to generate ammonia as a low-cost alternate to lithium-ion batteries for both renewable energy farms and automobiles. Needless to say, these are huge markets that now maybe up for grabs.
Thanks for Reading,