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- Sep 22, 2018
- SL Rez
- Joined SLU
- May 2009
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He's Creating a New Fuel Out of Thin Air — for 85 Cents per Gallon
Ammonia has been used as both an alternative fuel source and a surplus energy storage mechanism since the 1800s, and while its production is far less damaging to the environment than traditional oil and gas, it’s not without its pollutants. In order to create NH3, the ammonia-based fuel, one would have to build a massive production facility that still burns large quantities of fossil fuels and releases significant amounts of carbon in the production process.
But in 2014, Gordon — who’s spent his career producing active pharmaceutical ingredients for sale around the world — secured a patent for his long-time side project: a refrigerator-sized machine that turns water and air into a reusable, renewable, ammonia-based NH3. The project began in the early 2000s, and took almost nine years before it produced a usable prototype. The patent application was submitted the following year, at a time when Gordon says he didn’t even have transportation fuel on his radar. Today, he drives a converted Ford F-350 with a button on the dashboard that allows him to switch between traditional gasoline and one of the small tanks of colorless, strong-smelling NH3 gas sitting in back of the pickup truck.