Amogy eyes commercialization of zero-emission, ammonia-powered semi-truck


Amogy Inc. has successfully tested a first-of-its-kind zero-emission semi-truck that is powered by ammonia, and soon plans to launch commercialization efforts by beginning to produce the product at scale, Seonghoon Woo, the company’s CEO and co-founder, told pv magazine USA

Amogy tested its 300 kW semi-truck in early 2023 and its team is now focused on retrofitting a tugboat, which was originally powered with diesel and electric motor, to be the world’s first ammonia-powered vessel, according to Woo. After completing this demonstration, it will launch commercialization efforts and has already started accepting pre-orders from some customers, to be commercially deployed in 2024.

“We are looking at larger production from 2025 or 2026,” said Woo. 

The heavy-duty trucking industry represents 23% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions from transportation and is particularly difficult to decarbonize, since battery power doesn’t necessarily have the energy density to replace fossil fuels for larger vehicles over long distances. Amogy said its ammonia-to-power technology could present a solution for the sector. 

The company has developed a compact, high-efficiency chemical reactor to split ammonia into hydrogen and nitrogen, and the hydrogen is then sent to a fuel cell to generate power. The technology is easier to integrate into existing infrastructure, according to Woo, and using ammonia as a hydrogen carrier also makes it easier to store and distribute.

“Our technology leverages the superior physical characteristics of liquid ammonia with the performance advantages of hydrogen,” said Woo. 

Amogy started off by integrating its technology into a 5 kW drone in mid-2021, and then a 100 kW tractor in May 2022. With the semi-truck, it has now scaled up to 300 kW and the latest work on the tugboat will use a 1 MW version of its ammonia-to-power system. 

Amogy was founded in 2020 and its investors include Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund and Saudi Aramco. In May, the company announced a memorandum of understanding with LSB Industries that will focus on encouraging the adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel, beginning with inland waterways transportation in the U.S. The companies plan to roll out a pilot program that combines LSB’s low-carbon ammonia and Amogy’s technology.

Public policy and private investment are shaping the path for ammonia to emerge as a viable clean energy source, and a stable and predictable business and political environment is key to continued investment in the area, Woo said. Many parts of the world – like the U.S. Gulf Coast, Southeast Asia, Australia and the Middle East – are increasing green ammonia production efforts, and Norway has established regulatory frameworks for safe and rational ammonia usage guidelines.  

“Though there will be challenges, the advancement of ammonia-to-power technology must grow alongside the scale of green ammonia production and both must be encouraged by public policy,” Woo said. 

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