Development of dense membranes for high-density hydrogen production from ammonia catalytic decomposition (cracking) for PEM fuel cells power in Long-haul Passenger Aircraft Transportation

E. Gobina
Robert Gordon University,
United Kingdom

Keywords: greenhous gas, CO2 emissions, aviation, long-haul, transport, hydrogen, fuel cell, ammonia, membranes


Aviation is a major greenhouse gas contributor responsible for around 3.2% of global CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. That corresponds to over than 1 billion metric tons of carbon (A metric ton is a little smaller than the American imperial ton—to be precise, it’s 1,000 kilograms—but the two are comparable) being (added to the atmosphere yearly. Therefore, the race to find alternatives to fossil fuels for planes is being intensified and in recent years, new and more highly efficient engines have contributed to reducing fuel consumption and harmful emissions. However, despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, global passenger and cargo air traffic is projected to grow by 4% per year to 2040. Biofuels, hydrogen, and electricity are three ways in which the aviation industry can respond to rising emissions and sustainability. In this presentation we will be discussing results of the proposed onboard fuelling process for long-haul passenger aircraft using ammonia as a fuel which is catalytically decomposed, and the hydrogen/nitrogen mixture purified using a dense metallic membrane to supply high-density hydrogen for a fuel cell. The aim is to develop a more compact design for hydrogen production from ammonia to offer a viable means for hydrogen air transportation and storage in the form of ammonia. More importantly, we are considering this approach to a be a viable solution for long-haul aviation powered by hydrogen. We will present results demonstrating our world-class expertise in membrane development (hydrogen-nitrogen separation).