Brooklyn Startup Successfully Tests a Pioneering Ammonia-Powered Semi-Truck

Trucking is still one of the most difficult transportation sectors to decarbonize, due to the significant challenges of delivering heavy cargo over extensive routes. Both battery- and hydrogen-based alternatives have their shortcomings, despite the undeniable progress so far. A small but ambitious company headquartered in Brooklyn believes that ammonia is the answer. So much so, that it focuses exclusively on this alternative fuel.
Amogy retrofitted a Freightliner Cascadia with its ammonia-to-power system 7 photos
Photo: Amogy
Ammonia-Powered Semi-TruckAmmonia-Powered Semi-TruckAmmonia-Powered TractorAmmonia-Powered TractorAmmonia-Powered TractorAmmonia-Powered Semi-Truck
You might have heard of Amogy last year, when the company successfully used ammonia to power a John Deere mid-size tractor for the first time. But its ammonia-fueled trajectory started earlier than that, with a drone. Both the drone and the tractor were just stepping stones on the way to decarbonizing heavy-duty trucking. The latest step in that direction was to test Amogy’s system on an actual semi-truck.

The vehicle that was used for the test was a 2018 Freightliner Cascadia, which Amogy retrofitted with its ammonia-to-power system. After fueling it with the green alternative (a process that only took eight minutes) the modified semi-truck started riding around the campus of Stony Brook University, putting to the test its 900 kWh of stored electric energy.

If you think that’s just child’s play, don’t worry. The retrofitted semi-truck will undergo serious, full-scale testing on a test track later this month, to confirm the system’s efficiency in real-world conditions. The important thing to note, for now, is that this claims to be the first ammonia-powered semi-truck in the world. This is pretty impressive for a company that started out just three years ago, founded by four MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Ph.D. alumni. They believe in the potential of ammonia so much that even the company’s name is derived directly from that.

In short, ammonia offers higher energy density compared to hydrogen, while also being much more practical to use. That’s mainly because, unlike hydrogen, it doesn’t require special storage temperatures and dedicated infrastructure. It’s also largely available right now, with 200 million tons of it produced annually.

The Amogy system combines a standard liquid-storage tank with so-called “ammonia-cracking modules” that are integrated into a fuel cell system. Ammonia is cracked into hydrogen and then sent straight to the fuel cell, to power the vehicle. And refueling is no hassle either, taking about the same time as it would at conventional gas stations.

In addition to the upcoming full-scale tests for the ammonia-powered semi-truck, Amogy has big plans for shipping as well. Later this year, it will implement its system on a 1MW-scale tugboat, and an inland barge. Throughout all of these projects, the Brooklyn-based startup continues to scale up its technology. The goal is to help cut CO2 emissions by billions of metric tons, over the next ten years.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram Twitter

Editor's note: Gallery also showing the ammonia-powered John Deere tractor

press release
About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories