The Nitrogen Economy: The Feasibility of Using Nitrogen-Based Alternative Fuels

Oren Elishav*, Gal Tvil, Bar Mosevitzky, Daniel Lewin, Gennady E. Shter, Gideon S. Grader

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We present herein a techno-economic feasibility for implementation of nitrogen-based fuels. Firstly, we compared the nitrogen- and carbon-based routes for chemical hydrogen storage. The above hydrogen carrier routes were evaluated on an energy basis, under defined system boundaries by comparing seven alternative fuels. Ammonia was found to be the best energy vector, followed by methane, methanol, and aqueous ammonium-hydroxide urea. Secondly, we evaluated the economic feasibility of a model nitrogen-based fuel by using levelized cost of storage analysis. The results indicated that a nitrogen-based fuel is competitive with other storage technologies under development. Furthermore, a decrease in the hydrogen cost can lead nitrogen-based fuels to be competitive with currently-used mature technologies. Thirdly, the utilization of the nitrogen-based fuel route was demonstrated. The auto-ignition process of a model fuel, aqueous urea ammonium nitrate (UAN) was described. The results indicate that this fuel is safe to use, store and handle under ambient pressure. We studies potential storage and reaction vessel materials, pointing out favorable metal alloys for these purposes. In addition, a catalyst screening study aimed at pollution reduction during batch combustion of this fuel is reported, as are preliminary results for continuous catalytic combustion. This work demonstrates the feasibility of catalytic pollution abatement for UAN combustion and the clean utilization of this fuel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Procedia
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference, IRES 2017 - Dusseldorf, Germany
Duration: 14 Mar 201716 Mar 2017


  • alternative fuels
  • catalytic combustion
  • economic analysis
  • energy analysis
  • fuel safety
  • nitrogen economy


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