High-Purity Hydrogen Production Using Helbio's Ammonia Cracker - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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High-Purity Hydrogen Production Using Helbio’s Ammonia Cracker

Here’s an article in offshore energy that talks about the ammonia cracker unveiled by Helbio.

According to the article,

  • Helbio delivers first “ammonia cracker” prototype to Pherousa Green Technologies.
  • Ammonia-to-hydrogen conversion rates greater than 99.3% achieved.
  • Hydrogen purification unit removes 100% of ammonia traces, enabling feed of a PEM fuel cell with fuel quality according to ISO 14687:2019.
  • Pherousa gains exclusive licensed rights to market the technology in the maritime sector worldwide.


The process behind the ammonia cracker prototype involves the conversion of ammonia (NH3) into hydrogen (H2) and nitrogen (N2), with a focus on achieving high conversion rates and purity of hydrogen output. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps and data points involved:

  1. Ammonia-to-Hydrogen Conversion: The cracker utilizes a catalytic process to split the ammonia molecule into hydrogen and nitrogen. The catalytic reaction typically occurs at elevated temperatures, facilitated by a catalyst material. In this case, the prototype achieves conversion rates greater than 99.3%, indicating highly efficient conversion of ammonia to hydrogen.
  2. Hydrogen Purification: After the ammonia is cracked, the hydrogen gas is purified to remove any remaining traces of ammonia. The purification unit employed in the prototype is capable of removing 100% of the ammonia traces, ensuring the fuel quality of the hydrogen meets the standards set by ISO 14687:2019. This standard specifies the maximum allowable levels of impurities in hydrogen fuel to ensure safe and efficient operation of fuel cells.
  3. Feed to PEM Fuel Cell: The purified hydrogen produced by the cracker can be directly fed into a Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell for power generation. PEM fuel cells are a type of electrochemical cell that converts hydrogen fuel and oxygen into electricity, with water as the only byproduct. The high purity of the hydrogen fuel ensures optimal performance and longevity of the fuel cell.
  4. Technical Challenges: Historically, achieving efficient ammonia cracking has been challenging due to the strong chemical bonds within the ammonia molecule. However, the collaboration between Pherousa and Helbio focused on developing an effective cracker system capable of overcoming these challenges. The successful delivery of the prototype demonstrates a breakthrough in this area, with very promising results.

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About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.

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