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What is it?

Ammonia is synthesised from hydrogen and nitrogen via one of a variety of methods. Ammonia can then be transported, and the hydrogen extracted again at the point of use via a thermal decomposition and separation process.

Why is it important?

Ammonia can be transported under mild conditions and be utilised directly or converted back into hydrogen for use.


  • Volumetric hydrogen density: High (10.7kg H2 / m3 at 10 bar and 25°C)
  • Gravimetric hydrogen density: High (17.8% by mass)
  • Storage conditions: Liquid at ambient temperature, 10-11 bar pressure
  • Energy efficiency: Varies depending on synthesis approach. See Haber-Bosch synthesis method for conventional synthesis


  • Cracking leads to formation of nitrogen gas, which is innocuous and can be released back into the atmosphere
  • Can be stored at mild temperature and pressure for transport
  • Can leverage existing ammonia handling and transport infrastructure
  • High Gravimetric hydrogen density: 17.8% by mass
  • High Volumetric hydrogen density -10.7kg H2 / 100L at 10 bar and 25°C


  • Requires cracking at point of use to extract hydrogen
  • See limitations for each synthesis method
  • High toxicity of ammonia vapours
  • Note: Various ammonia technologies in development cover the whole TRL scale

RD&D priorities

  • Develop higher efficiency and lower cost synthesis methods

Known active organisations

  • The Australian National University
  • Monash University
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The University of Newcastle
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Technology Sydney
  • The University of Western Australia

Other opportunities like this

  • Ammonia is synthesised by reacting hydrogen with nitrogen gas at high temperatures and pressures.

  • Hydrogen is reacted with toluene to form methylcyclohexane (MCH), a compound that can be transported at ambient temperature and pressure.

  • Methanol is conventionally synthesised at large scale from synthesis gas (or syngas), a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide typically at an H₂/CO ratio of 1.8 ~ 2.2, derived through steam reforming of natural gas or steam gasification of coal.

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