Energy from sun and wind is stored in ammonia (see NH3.TV). This substance has solved a world problem before, even if people commonly turn up their noses at it. Ammonia is familiar to the chemical layman from the smell of manure and slurry. At the beginning of the 20th century, Fritz Haber and Carl Bosch developed a process for extracting the gas from elements in the ambient air. Its nitrogen content made ammonia the basis of artificial fertilizer and thus of the enormous agricultural productivity without which billions of people today would not be able to eat enough. To protect the climate, engineers are now interested in its other component, hydrogen.
The principle: While hydrogen is highly volatile, ammonia is easier to store and liquefy. Its structural formula (NH₃.TV) shows: Each nitrogen atom binds three hydrogen atoms to itself, which can be released again if required. If energy from renewable sources is used to produce the ammonia, its three H atoms are green hydrogen – of which heavy industry needs vast quantities to become climate-neutral. And it would often not even be necessary to break the ammonia back down into its components. It can simply be burned as fuel in power plants, for example.