Convert my 2002 Impala to run on NH3/Gasoline 70/30 mix?

I’ve been in touch with several people from various alternative-fuel sites about people using NH3 (anhydr) as an auto fuel in internal combustion engines, including a Univ. of Michigan researcher and several others involved with various ammonia fuel projects. They are not offering conversion kits at the present time, nor are they aware of any.

In any case, I?m wondering how possible it would be to convert my Impala 2002 3800 to run on the gasoline/NH3 (anhy) 70/30 mixture. My hope is that by using two fuel injectors, one each for gasoline and one for NH3, that it would be feasible to introduce NH3 (anhdy) into the cylinder, even using off-the-shelf components, or slightly-modified components. The injection pulse signals would pass to both sets of injectors. Fuel-ratios might have to be trimmed ?by-hand?, especially for ignition and idle conditions.

Naturally, I would be most interested either in a kit, or more formal instructions needed to produce modifications to an existing fuel injector to put on the 3800 block.

My Impala 3800, with high mileage, would make a great guinea pig, now that I have the privilege of telecommuting to work.

btw/ vast ammounts of anhydrous ammonia are used here in the midwest as fertilizer.


OK, I’ll bite - why would anhydrous ammonia work in an internal combustion engine? Let’s make the leap that it burns, now you have an engine putting out massive amounts of NO2 or NO, a major pollutant? What’s the point?

Update - I checked, seems some are looking at this, but I sure wouldn’t want to be a guinea pig - how would you get the fuel? Still doesn’t seem to make sense, get ammonia from natural gas, why not convert to CNG?

The NO2 is handled by the cats (catalytic convertors), as usual. In fact, since ammonia is BASIC, in theory, as it burns, it REDUCES amounts of NO2 (both in the chemical sense of REDUCTION and in reduced quantities of toxins, etc.)

Go to a small farming town. You will see tanks of ammonia, compressed. Really, not that much different from CNG, propane, et all, except, potentially, cheaper.

Diesel conversions are supposed to be straightforward, but my car runs on gasoline. The reason for the gas in the mix is that ammonia is difficult to ignite, and requires a boost. Again, I’m not looking to redesign my car from the ground up; I just want instructions for adding another injector.


I got nothing. But…you’d need pressurized tanks for the NH3, right? This is sounding like a nitrous injection system, but I’d sure want somebody else to have worked this all out before I tried it. Still don’t understand why CNG wouldn’t be cheaper, it’s the feedstock for NH3 manufacture.

Anhydrous ammonia can be made virtually any energy source, including CNG. It may also be produced from manure.

Comment: I’m not looking for NITROUS injection. I’m looking for an injection system for bulk anhydrous ammonia.

Start inquiring about buying bulk quantities of anhydrous ammonia and I’ll bet the homeland security folks will come a’knockin’ :wink:

Slightly modified components? The intake manifold will likely need to be a custom job and then there’s the matter of controlling the injectors…

Again, small town U.S.A. has been using anhydrous ammonia for decades. Maybe HS doesn’t go there.

As for controlling the injectors, well, one set of signals from the controllers and sensors can fire two sets of injectors. In theory, as the sensors sense ‘rich’ or ‘lean’, they would pretty much optimize any mixture that came there way, within reason. Granted, starting up the ignition on pure ammonia is a problem, that’s why the 70/30 ammonia/gasoline mixture.

You missed my point - you want a system with a separate pressureized tank, separate injector, and some sort of electronic control - that is the same type of system used for nitrous. Good luck finding a way to modulate the NH3, and monitor the air/fuel mixture. Like I said, you need to find someone who’s already done this, nothing simple about it.

No, texases, you missed MY point.
You’re right about the need for a separate NH3 tank, and control systems.
In any case, the technology for this is proven.
Nobody said that it was simple.

You’re right, I must have missed your point - what is it? Also, where is the technology for this proven?

Cartalk would not have been my first choice for help in this project.

Maybe some of the alternative energy forums would better serve you.

thanks for the advice, oldschool.

As far as forums, go, over the years I’ve heard pretty much everything on Click and Clack…

I know nothing of this technology, and am not versed in the chemistry, but the OP sounds like he’s done his research, understands the challanges ahead and the probability of it working, and is enthusiastic about venturing forward. I say go for it.

Richard Branson was laughed at, criticized, and even sued by British Airways when he began Virgin Airways. He had virtually no chance of success. Virgin Records, one of his earlier ventures, was a teeny startup with little chance of success. Now he has…what’s it called…Virgin Galactic? The private spaceship. Nobody criticizes anymore. They’re too busy being amazed.

Go for it! Post back once in a while and update us.

Well…I know he’s aware of it, has corresponded with the researchers looking into it, but he’s asked a basic question, one that we can help answer: how does he convert his car to do it? I have tried to lay out the hurdles he has: How will he meter the ammonia? How will he store it? How will he modify the complex engine controls in a fuel injected car to run on it? Anhydrous ammonia is extremely toxic, as the OP well knows. The liquid’s pressure is about 200 psi at 100 F. Not something to play around with.

The professor at UM suggests that different mixtures of gasoline and ammonia will be needed under different loads. Gasoline only at idle, adding ammonia as the car speeds up. It seems that a computer with sensors and a feedback loop would be needed for your car to function properly. The computer would also have to control both sets of injectors.

It’s a basic question, and your posts have been challenging and thought-provolking as they should be, and I suspect his hurdles will be more than any of us know, but I have to wonder if perhaps this adventurism isn’t how solutions to problems get found.

I’m not a chemist by any means but I was under the impression that anhydrous can be toxic and fatal if exposed to flame or high heat.

A plant about 12 miles south of me manufactures this stuff and a write-up in the local paper many years ago stated if there an explosion it would be bad news for anyone upwind of this.

Not to mention a dump truck driver who plowed into a freight train here some years back, derailed 3 tank cars of this stuff, and started a fire; along with killing the truck driver.
The state troopers routed me and everyone else on the highway down 4 miles of dirt roads to keep us all away from the junk and evacuated everyone for 5 miles north (upwind) of the accident.

I live in a rural outlying town and there’s about 150 anhydrous tanks, including the mama that fills them up, about 2 blocks from me. Now and then a valve pops off on one of the of them and one can walk out in the morning and practically be knocked off your feet by the smell. It would seem to me that putting anhydrous into the atmosphere, burned or unburned, is a bad thing to do.

I understand the point about anhydrous seeing as how natural gas is heavily used in the production of it but it’s also highly modified by the process.

You’ll need a mechanical system, and an electronic system, which communicate and cooperate with each other. One, a gasoline system; and, one an ammonia system.
Adding fuel (ammonia) injectors to the intake manifold could be as simple as drilling holes in the intake manifold (It doesn’t have to be pretty). Would the pressure of the ammonia, in its container, be enough for the fuel injectors; or, does ammonia require higher pressures? Maybe, a diesel fuel pump?
A computer system and sensors would have to be used for the ammonia, and it would have to be designed and built. A second system for a gasoline system might work.
The biggest hurdle would be to get the two to cooperate.
One starts with an idea; then, the hard work begins. Good luck.

Put me down with the skeptics. Ammonia will burn, but its heat of combustion is only about 1/3 of the heat of combustion of gasoline, so you have to carry three times as much weight relative to the amount of energy you are carrying with you. Why not burn the natural gas that would be used to make the ammonia? That would be a lot more efficient.

Ammonia is used to reduce NOx in the off-gas from combustion, but it is introduced after the fire, not into the fire. If you burn the ammonia, you will make a lot of NOx, a lot more than the catalyst is designed to handle.

You already know how dangerous anhydrous ammonia is to handle. Probably not as dangerous as hydrogen, but not nice. I grew up on an Iowa farm and it nearly got me once.

Part of the fuel delivery system will need to have good air flow around it and heat transfer so the ammonia can absorb enough heat to vaporize. That should not be a problem in an engine compartment.