You are reading content from Scuttlebutt

I've been enjoying this article today

Over coffee on a rainy morning in Sydney, he describes his futuristic vision for renewable ammonia. When he squints, he can see, maybe 30 years down the road, Australia's coast dotted with supertankers, docked at offshore rigs. But they wouldn't be filling up with oil. Seafloor powerlines would carry renewable electricity to the rigs from wind and solar farms on shore. On board, one device would use the electricity to desalinate seawater and pass the fresh water to electrolyzers to produce hydrogen. Another device would filter nitrogen from the sky. Reverse fuel cells would knit the two together into ammonia for loading on the tankers—a bounty of energy from the sun, air, and sea.

You could take it further, maybe the deliveries are carried out by autonomous sailboats:


@Carl Thuringer
Voted this
@Carl Thuringer

Energy Storage and transportation are big issues for renewables and off-grid tech. I don't especially like the creation of a global logistical network dependent upon high-volume ammonia producers, though.
The article is very heavy on describing the science, devices, and processes with some limited speculation on industrial scale applications, but light on practicalities or holistic lifecycle of the technology.

Wikipedia says that Ammonia is classified as an extremely hazardous substance, both caustic and hazardous. It's gaseous at normal atmospheric pressure, so it has to be stored under pressure, so how much does pressurization take from the efficiency?

Also what happens to leaked ammonia in the atmosphere? How volatile/dangerous is ammonia gas? It seems it doesn't combust easily, but it's hazardous for other reasons.

Another thing strongly on my mind is the relative technology level of distributed tech. Do the components suffer degradation over time, and how are they serviced/replaced? Can they be recycled? Is there enough energy efficiency accounting for the energy spent in the recycling/manufacture of the cells?

So many questions! Thanks again for sharing, I had no idea about ammonia fuel cell technology before reading this.

User has chosen not to be hosted publicly
Voted this
Re: %ANMeAPs9y

i'm far from an expert here, but it seems like energy is a big obstacle for certain kinds of tasks. i wonder what alternative energy sources are out there that we could harness for solarpunk settlements? %cKL5BuY...

maybe the solution isn't harnessing more energy, but using it more efficiently? what are the limits there?

Voted this
Join Scuttlebutt now