Ammonia as a Potential Substance

  • İbrahim Dinçer
  • Calin Zamfirescu


Ammonia is a substance formed from hydrogen, the most abundant chemical element of the universe, and nitrogen, the major component of the terrestrial atmosphere (79%). It is interesting to note that the second major component of the terrestrial atmosphere, oxygen (21%) in combination with hydrogen forms water. Similarly to water, ammonia plays a major role in the global ecosystem: it represents a nitrogen source for all living species. At the same time, ammonia can play a major role in the sustainable development of mankind since it is a hydrogen source that packs 1.5 mol of hydrogen per mol of NH3 at a density as high as 106 kg H2/m3. Moreover, ammonia is produced industrially in large quantities as artificial fertilizer for agriculture. With respect to sustainable development, it is of major importance to find and promote cleaner and more efficient technologies of ammonia production, since NH3 is produced currently from fossil fuels, and its synthesis process leads to major greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale and consumes a significant amount of the world’s energy budget.


Fuel Cell Heat Recovery Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell Ammonia Production Fuel Tank 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Specific cost, currency per mass


Specific exergy, kJ/kg


Gravitational acceleration, m/s2


Specific enthalpy, kJ/kg


Formation enthalpy, J/mol


Lower heating value, MJ/kg


Pressure, Pa


Specific entropy, KJ/kg K


Temperature, K


Mass specific work, J/kg


Dissociation fraction


Elevation, m

Greek Letters






Molar mass, kg/kmol


Density, kg/m3



Reference state


Cooling effect












\( (\ )^{\prime\prime\prime} \)

Per unit of volume


  1. Appl M. 1999. Ammonia — principles and industrial practice. Wiley-VCH, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Bartles J.R. 2008. A feasibility study of implementing an ammonia economy. MSc Thesis, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.Google Scholar
  3. Christensen C.H., Sørensen R.Z., Johannessen T., Quaade U.J., Honkala K., Elmøe T.D., Køhlera R., Nørskov J.K. 2005. Metal ammine complexes for hydrogen storage. Journal of Materials Chemistry 15:4106–4108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Colonna P., Van der Stelt T.P. 2004. FluidProp: A Program for the Estimation of Thermophysical Properties of Fluids. Energy Technology Section, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands.Google Scholar
  5. Ganley J.C., Seebauer E.G., Masel R.I. 2004. Development of a microreactor for production of hydrogen from ammonia. Journal of Power Sources 137:53–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Garcia-Garcia F.R., Ma Y.H., Rodrigues-Ramos I., Guerrero-Ruiz A. 2008. High purity hydrogen production by low temperature catalytic ammonia decomposition in a multifunctional membrane reactor. Catalysis Communications 9:482–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Grimes P.G. 1966. Energy deport fuel and utilization. Transaction of the Society of Automotive Engineers, paper #650051.Google Scholar
  8. Hacker V., Kordesch K. 2003. Ammonia crackers. In: Handbook of Fuel Cells—Fundamentals, Technology and Applications. John Wiley and Sons, Chichester, England.Google Scholar
  9. Heldebrant D.J., Karkamkar A., Linehan J.C., Autrey T. 2008. Synthesis of ammonia borane for hydrogen storage applications. Energy and Environmental Science 1:156–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hinnemann B., Nørskov J.K. 2006. Catalysis by enzymes: the biological ammonia synthesis. Topics in Catalysis 37:55–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kästner J., Blöchl P.E. 2007. Ammonia production at the FeMo cofactor of nitrogenise: results from density functional theory. Journal of the American Chemical Society 129:2998–3006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mousdale D.M. 2008. Biofuels—Biotechnology, Chemistry, and Sustainable Development. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. NIST 2010. NIST Chemistry WebBook. NIST Standard Reference Database Number 69. Linstrom P.J., Mallard W.G. eds., NIST, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  14. Rafiqul I., Weber C., Lehmann B., Voss A. 2005. Energy efficiency improvements in ammonia production perspectives and uncertainties. Energy 30:2487–2504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Skodras G., Kaldis S., Topis S., Koutsonikolas D., Grammelis P., Sakellaropoulos G. 2006. NH3 decomposition and simultaneous H2 separation with a commercial Pd-Cu-Ag/V membrane. Proceedings of the Second International Green Energy Conference. June 25–29, Oshawa, ON, Paper #IGEC2-141.Google Scholar
  16. Sørensen R.Z., Nielsen L.J.E., Jensen S., Hansen O., Johannessen T., Quaade U., Christensen C.H. 2005. Catalytic ammonia decomposition: miniaturized production of COx-free hydrogen for fuel cells. Catalysis Communications 6:229–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Walter M., Lesicki R. 1998. Measures taken to ensure safe operation of an ammonia storage tank. Process Safety Progress 17:288–296.Google Scholar
  18. Yin S.F., Xu B.Q., Zhou X.P., Au C.T. 2004. A mini-review on ammonia decomposition catalysts for on-site generation of hydrogen for fuel cell applications. Applied Catalysis: A, General 277:1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zamfirescu C., Dincer I. 2008a. Using ammonia as a sustainable fuel, Journal of Power Sources 185:459–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Zamfirescu C., Dincer I. 2008b. Environmentally-benign hydrogen production from ammonia for vehicles. Proceedings of Global Conference on Global Warming. July 6–10, Istanbul, paper #626.Google Scholar
  21. Zamfirescu C., Dincer I. 2008c. Ammonia as a green fuel for transportation. Proceedings of ASME, Energy Sustainability Conference. August 10–14, Jacksonville, FL, paper #54329.Google Scholar
  22. Zamfirescu C., Dincer I. 2009a. Ammonia as a green fuel and hydrogen source for vehicular applications. Fuel Processing Technology 90:729–737.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Zamfirescu C., Dincer I. 2009b. Environmental impact and cost analyses of ammonia as a hydrogen source. Proceeding of Global Conference on Global Warming. July 5–9, Istanbul, paper #535.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering & Applied ScienceUniversity of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)OshawaCanada

Personalised recommendations