Will Carbon-Free Rocket Fuel Power Your Next Car?
Some kids love dinosaurs.
Since my early childhood, I’ve been obsessed with airplanes — military jets, to be specific.
My fondest childhood memories include a number of scenes from Andrews Air Force Base, just outside of Washington, D.C., where my dad and I attended air shows every summer.
If anything could awaken the imagination of a young boy, it's the sound of an F-14 passing overhead at close to Mach 1.
No words can describe the gut-shaking experience as terror and exhilaration came together for the first time in my 6-year-old mind.
But not all the memories were quite so visceral. Those that stick with me the best, in fact, were far more discreet.
On one particular visit to Andrews AFB, I came face-to-face with a true celebrity.
Parked in a hangar all by itself was a plane so legendary I doubted it was real the first time I laid eyes on it: the SR-71 Blackbird.
Everything about it, from its shape to its color to its name, made my heart race. To this very day, I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
It flew high and fast — twice as high as any airliner and faster than a rifle bullet, in fact, with a top cruising speed exceeding Mach 3.
The SR-71 still holds the coast-to-coast flight record at one hour and four minutes, but — and this is the part that will crush a young boy’s idealized image of the Blackbird — it's actually nowhere near the fastest winged aircraft to ever take to the sky.
That honor goes to North American Aviation's experimental X-15, operated by both the Air Force and NASA in the 1960s.
If you want to see one for yourself, you can. The one at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., still bears the scorch marks of its hypersonic dashes through the sky above the Nevada desert.
The X-15, while still technically a plane because of its wings, is actually more of a rocket.
In place of air-breathing jet engines, the X-15 got its motivation from two liquid-fueled rocket motors, producing 57,000 pounds of thrust.
It'd Pass Your SR-71 Like You're Standing Still
There was only enough fuel for two minutes of powered flight, but during those two minutes, there was nothing comparable to it anywhere in the sky.
It first flew in 1959, and in 1967, with William J. Knight at the controls, the X-15 hit Mach 6.7, or 4,520 mph, at an altitude of 102,000 feet to take the record for fastest flight in a powered manned aircraft.
Had the SR-71 been flying alongside the X-15 on that day, it would have been overtaken at a speed differential of more than 2,300 mph.
During high-altitude flights of the early '60s, the X-15 flew so high that five of the Air Force pilots who participated in testing were awarded astronaut wings.
That’s a long list of firsts and extremes for a single machine, but perhaps the most dramatic departure from the norm lies in the fuel that powered the craft.
The X-15's principal fuel is a chemical you probably associate more closely with household cleaners: ammonia.
Yet despite its decidedly unglamorous reputation, ammonia is actually an incredibly versatile, potent, and environmentally friendly energy source.
It's highly stable and therefore not explosive under normal conditions, and after it's burned, the only byproduct is water vapor.
And it doesn't just work for military planes and rockets. With minor modifications, any of today's mass-produced internal combustion engines can be set up to burn ammonia while retaining all of the same benefits. Join Wealth Daily today for FREE. We'll keep you on top of all the hottest investment ideas before they hit Wall Street. Become a member today, and get our latest free report: "How to Make Your Fortune in Stocks"
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Ammonia fuel is so clean that its exhaust can be cooled and safely sipped from a glass... yet it can still deliver enough power to bring airplanes to the edge of space.
If you want to get into the numbers, ammonia has 9x the energy density of lithium-ion batteries and almost twice that of hydrogen.
It maintains a liquid state at minus 33 degrees C, making it far more stable and manageable than hydrogen, which requires a temp of minus 273 degrees C.
So what's the catch? If it's so great, why isn't ammonia our primary fuel for the consumer and commercial markets instead of gasoline?
Ammonia, up until very recently, was a problem to produce in the masses needed for such applications as transportation fuel. The process was an expensive one that left behind toxic remnants and made its production in the volumes necessary to sustain an energy market simply not feasible.
But all of that is now about to change.
There is a new technology on the radar now that's about to change the paradigm: Green ammonia production, requiring nothing more than water and electricity.
It's an already patented ammonia production process that's approaching mass commercialization.
The benefits over the current standard are as simple as they are dramatic. Green ammonia can now be produced using nothing more than water, air, and electricity (hence green), and it can be done at a final cost lower than that of gasoline or diesel.
These two improvements to the production process instantly give ammonia the potential to compete in the $3 trillion-per-year global fossil fuel market.
In five–10 years, your local filling station could be dispensing this stuff right alongside gasoline. In another five–10 years, it could be dispensing only this stuff, with gas and diesel a distant memory.
Ammonia's potential for transforming the world goes further than just powering our various modes of transportation.
The implications to the world of food production — which, given the ever-shrinking supply of arable land, will rely more and more on ammonia as a fertilizer — are game-changing.
Fuel for Industry… Fuel for Life
The long-term prospects for this sector are so great they're really hard to enumerate... but it's safe to say that by the middle of the century, we could easily be running on an ammonia-dependent economy.
The Vancouver-based company that holds the patent came into existence, in its present form, for the sole purpose of bringing this technology to the transportation and food production markets.
Shares trade for less than $0.30, and the company’s total market capitalization is less than USD$20 million.
In other words, it's an embryo — a tiny speck compared with the giant market its technology could soon be disrupting.
It's one of the most fascinating and prospective investment stories I've seen in years, and right now, my colleague Keith Kohl is covering it for premium subscribers to his cutting-edge investment newsletter, Technology and Opportunity.
The report he’s put together sums up all the facts and all the data, and answers all of the big questions potential investors may have.
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Fortune favors the bold, Alex Koyfman His flagship service, Microcap Insider, provides market-beating insights into some of the fastest moving, highest profit-potential companies available for public trading on the U.S. and Canadian exchanges. With more than 5 years of track record to back it up, Microcap Insider is the choice for the growth-minded investor. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.
Fortune favors the bold,
His flagship service, Microcap Insider, provides market-beating insights into some of the fastest moving, highest profit-potential companies available for public trading on the U.S. and Canadian exchanges. With more than 5 years of track record to back it up, Microcap Insider is the choice for the growth-minded investor. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.
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