Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What if we use NH3 now?

I just got back from driving to Iowa looking at ammonia engines, and noticed that diesel prices were often over $3.00 per gallon. So I started thinking what would we be paying for ammonia if our engines were converted.

Last week the price of ammonia was $365 per ton. On a btu basis, that is about $2.28 per gallon for the same amount of energy. We will ignore that ammonia engines are supposed to be somewhat more efficient than diesel.

This is not a fair apples-to-apples comparison. The ammonia price quoted is wholesale, and buying retail in New England would cost more. Road diesel includes a lot of taxes, while ammonia is exempt at present. Eventually there will be a tax if NH3 becomes significant, but that is many years away.

Even so, ammonia is quite competitive with diesel especially if we can make it in state.

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