From lab to practical: An ammonia-powered fuel cell electric golf cart system

Lingling Zhai, Chiu Shek Wong, Honglei Zhang, Pei Xiong, Xiangdang Xue, Yiu Lun Ho, Cuidong Xu, Yat Chi Fong, Jie Mei, Wing Wa Chan, Shu Chuen Ip, Shuangxia Niu, Shu Ping Lau, Ka Wai Eric Cheng, Molly Meng-Jung Li

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Ammonia (NH3) is a carbon-free hydrogen (H2) carrier because it enables liquid-phase H2 storage and transport under mild conditions. Although the concept of NH3-to-H2 has been frequently proposed, the practical application of NH3 as the energy source for H2 power automotive systems is rarely reported. In this work, an NH3-powered fuel cell electric golf cart system was developed and demonstrated as a proof of concept for NH3-powered fuel cell vehicles. The integration of NH3 cracker (installed with catalyst), gas purifier, fuel cell, and energy management system formed a successful powertrain that thrusts a golf cart into motion. The catalytic performance of both nickel (Ni) and iron (Fe)-based catalysts were measured, and the optimal catalyst demonstrated a > 99.9 % NH3 conversion at 600 ℃. The gas purifier was confirmed to be capable of removing the residual NH3 for a proton exchange membrane fuel cell (PEMFC). The fuel cell, when powered by the cracked and purified gas mixture, revealed comparable performance and power output as compared with the pre-mixed fuel gas mixture (75 %H2/25 %N2), demonstrating the feasibility of the whole system. The integration can successfully power 300 and 600 W fuel cells and continuously charge the energy storage system, offering sufficient energy for a 3kW golf cart for>500 km at 25 km/h. This work is an innovative demonstration of an NH3-powered fuel cell vehicle system, giving rise to a future reference and inspiration for the practical developments of NH3-based H2 fuel applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number139390
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Ammonia decomposition
  • Fuel cell
  • Heterogeneous catalyst
  • Hydrogen carrier
  • Zero carbon fuel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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