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Expanding on this: Lets go with extreme pessimism about what is possible - The most widely synthesized chemical in the world is ammonia, which is a viable combustion engine fuel, even if it is rather less user friendly than gasoline. Further, let us assume that the only economically viable low-carbon power sources we are ever going to have are wind and nukes.
At five cents/kwh the cost of producing one metric tonne of ammonia via electrolysis is 6-800 dollars. This is not an unreasonable price to pay for the power density  
and note, since electrolysis can, in fact, be switched on and off at the drop of a hat, this could be night time surplus from nukes or the full output of a wind farm located in an optimally windy area specifically for this purpose so 5 cents/kwh is, in fact, a rather high estimate of actual cost, and cheaper electricity crashes the price hard. Dammit, now I am wondering why the farmers of the world arent already running their tractors off ammonia..
by Thomas on Fri Jul 30th, 2010 at 01:21:42 AM EST
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Actually, there is a significant segment of the agriculture industry that does use ammonia as fuel. IIRC, this ammonia is make in Louisiana as a byproduct of the petrochemical industry and transported up the Mississippi for use in Iowa, etc. where there is farm equipment that can run on it. I also recall that the production of ammonia as fuel has been proposed as a use for "stranded wind".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 31st, 2010 at 10:47:42 AM EST
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