Carbon Emission-Free Renewable Energy: About C-Free Renew®
One hundred years ago, farms were small and labor intensive, with horses performing the heavy field work. Over time, gasoline-powered tractors replaced horses. By the 1950s, a 160-acre farm could support a family.
Today’s farms are much larger and depend on fossil fuels for their operation. Fossil fuels—coal, petroleum and natural gas—were formed over millions of years and the consumption of these fuels is increasing. As the supply declines, fossil fuels will become more expensive. We need to explore and implement carbon emission-free renewable farm fuels so that fossil fuels can be preserved for making fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides.
In 2009, we set out to develop and implement carbon emission-free renewable farm fuels for two reasons:
- To help preserve fossil fuels for making fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides.
- To create a carbon emission-free renewable energy source would also help combat global warming and its effect on climate change.
Why Hydrogen and Ammonia?
Most combustion happens when hydrogen combines with oxygen. Ammonia is an excellent hydrogen carrier because it does not require high storage volumes and pressures. It can be used as fertilizer for crops and as a fuel when combined with hydrogen.
The ammonia used as fertilizer by today’s farmers is made from fossil fuels. With one-third of the world’s population dependent upon ammonia-fertilized food, finding a viable way for farmers to make their own ammonia—as we’ve demonstrated is possible with our system—would make a positive impact around the world.
The Role of Solar Energy
Solar power also plays an important role in the system. Solar arrays power a hydrogen generator, which uses electric current to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen. They also power air compressors that drive the hydrogen, nitrogen and ammonia mixture pumps. Electric power is used to power nitrogen and ammonia generators and control system.
The Results: A Carbon-Free Tractor and Locally-Made Ammonia
Today, C-Free Renew® Carbon Emission-Free Renewable Energy system includes:
Hydrogen & ammonia-fueled tractor: A John Deere 7810 modified with an engine fueled by a mix of hydrogen and ammonia.
Small-scale ammonia production: An ammonia reactor and subsystem hardware make ammonia from hydrogen and nitrogen and is stored in a small tank. The ammonia is used to fuel the tractor and is applied to the crop as fertilizer.