Frank Amendola of Alternative Fuel Sciences gets pissy when he talks about the ZeroFuel cars he’s entering in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize. In fact, three ZeroFuel cars are being entered, the ZF1, ZF2 and ZF3, which all run on ammonia and hydrogen.
Now, I’ve talked at length before about ammonia (NH3) potentially being the fuel of the future since it is a hydrogen rich chemical compound and the only emissions from burning it are nitrogen (the most abundance element in air) and water. And, of course the only emissions from burning hydrogen are a little water vapor.
The reason that Amendola gets a little pissy when talking about his cars is a good one. Besides obtaining the 100 mpg minimum to win the X-Prize, they are powered by the chemical compound carbamide or in other words urea (urine). Carbamide is composed of nitrogen, hydrogen and CO2.
ZeroFuel is a mixture of carbamide and water. Inside the ZeroFuel cars a reformer separates the carbamide into ammonia and hydrogen and then these two clean fuels are injected into the vehicles engine for a clean burn. So, far, no word on what happens with the CO2 after reformation.
Plans are also in the works for a home ZeroFuel filling station so that homeowners can both refuel their cars and even fertilize their gardens if they wish. ZeroFuel is a big idea that we will hear more about as the 2010 Automotive X-Prize deadline approaches.