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Issue 4, 2011
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Urea as a hydrogen carrier: a perspective on its potential for safe, sustainable and long-term energy supply

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Abstract

Recently, there have been publications reporting the use of urea, as a source of hydrogen/fuel cell power. There have however been no reports that singularly assess the suitability of urea for this purpose. This article provides not only a perspective on the attributes of urea ((NH2)2CO) as a hydrogen carrier for fuel cells but also presents the findings of a review on the feasibility of utilising the enormous natural resource of urea that exists. Urea is a cheap and widely available commodity with well developed manufacturing infrastructure and a rapidly increasing volume of production. This offers rapid implementation of urea for application as a hydrogen carrier either directly or as a source of ammonia. Compared with other industrial chemicals previously considered, urea has the advantages of being non-toxic, stable, and therefore easy to transport and store. This report reveals that the natural resource of urea could be a solution to long-term future sustainable hydrogen supply and that the present status of scientific knowledge necessary to extract this natural resource is in the most part understood. It is considered realistic that these sustainable routes could be exploited if they are given sufficient focus of research attention.

Graphical abstract: Urea as a hydrogen carrier: a perspective on its potential for safe, sustainable and long-term energy supply

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Publication details

The article was received on 23 Nov 2010, accepted on 07 Jan 2011 and first published on 09 Feb 2011


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C0EE00705F
Citation: Energy Environ. Sci., 2011,4, 1216-1224
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    Urea as a hydrogen carrier: a perspective on its potential for safe, sustainable and long-term energy supply

    A. N. Rollinson, J. Jones, V. Dupont and M. V. Twigg, Energy Environ. Sci., 2011, 4, 1216
    DOI: 10.1039/C0EE00705F

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