Chemists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found a way to convert ammonia into nitrogen gas. According to scientists, the new technology will become an environmentally friendly alternative to carbon-based fuels. More details about the development were told in the journal Nature Chemistry.
In the study, the scientists combined ammonia and a metal catalyst containing ruthenium. Unlike other noble metals such as gold or silver, ruthenium is capable of chemical reactions. As a result, chemists obtained nitrogen without using any other energy source. In addition, they found that the metal compound can be reused by first recycling it with oxygen.
In the past, ammonia has also been used as a fuel cell. During World War II, it was used in cars. Now he works as a substitute for fuel on ships. But burning ammonia leads to the release of nitrogen oxides, which are very toxic.
Scientists say that no harmful gases are emitted during the production of ammonia using the new technology. They also note the benefits of ammonia as a fuel. It can be compressed like propane. This makes it especially easy to transport and store.
In the future, chemists are going to create a more efficient fuel cell that will carry all the best qualities of the current development. In addition, they plan to find an environmentally friendly way to create raw materials. In particular, they want to produce ammonia using water, air and sunlight.