Can Nitrogen Be Used as Fuel?

Can Nitrogen Be Used As Fuel?

A gasoline vehicle generates 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year. This is under the assumption that a gallon of gasoline can fuel up to 22 miles and burns roughly 8,887 grams of carbon dioxide, and a vehicle is used to drive 11,500 miles yearly. 

But imagine a world where the typical passenger vehicle no longer emits greenhouse gases. European countries, such as Germany, have been promoting the use of electric vehicles to bring this idea closer to reality. This isn’t the only option, though. The industry is exploring the use of nitrogen as a more eco-friendly substitute to fuel.

In our efforts to help you Forge Forward, we dive into the question, “Can nitrogen be used as an alternative to fuel?” Keep reading to learn more.


How can nitrogen be used as a fuel substitute?

Nitrogen serves countless purposes. Gaseous nitrogen can be used for drying, inerting, packaging, and stripping. It may be used as a carrier, diluent, or nebulization gas. Meanwhile, liquid nitrogen helps with freezing and preserving cord blood, bone marrow, cell lines, heat valves, sperm, and other biological materials. Liquid nitrogen is also used with various lab equipment, such as NMR and MRI instruments.

Nitrogen is not limited to laboratory use, though. Studies suggest that it can act as a substitute for fuel. In fact, the nitrogen economy is a proposed system wherein nitrogen-based fuels are used for energy storage and gas generation.

The idea of using liquid nitrogen as a substitute fuel for car engines, therefore, is not unheard of. Liquid nitrogen runs at a very low temperature. If you fill your tank with it and let it flow into your engine, the heat from the external air can transform the liquid nitrogen into a high-pressure gaseous substance that expands and creates thrust.

However, keep in mind that the conversion of liquid nitrogen into gaseous nitrogen should be regulated. Pressure can build up too fast and cause the fuel tank to explode. That being said, liquid nitrogen isn’t actually harmful. It’s not combustible or corrosive.


Why consider liquid-nitrogen fuel for cars?

Liquid nitrogen is capable of making an engine run without carbon emissions. While that’s good news and brings us closer to using vehicles with liquid-nitrogen engines, car manufacturers are still studying the efficiency and practicality of this option. One of the most pressing matters is the cost, especially since the infrastructure is currently limited.

We’re still far from the normalization of using cars with liquid-nitrogen engines, but the idea is there. And if we want to prioritize a greener, healthier environment, it would be wise to use nitrogen as a substitute for gasoline.


Exploring the Various Purposes of Nitrogen

The automotive industry is looking into the possibility of using liquid nitrogen as an environmentally friendly substitute for gasoline. But this is only one of many ways to utilize nitrogen; it still remains unexplored for other purposes.

Contact nexAir for inquiries about high-purity nitrogen gas. Our products meet all industry standards and we take your research to the next level through our technical and expert KnowHow™.

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