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Research proofs concept of ammonia as marine fuel

12 Jun 2019

Ammonia can be safely and effectively applied as a marine fuel to reduce harmful emissions in the maritime industry according to new research published on Wednesday (12 June) by Netherlands independent ship design and engineering company C-Job Naval Architects.

The new research uses a new concept design, an ammonia carrier fuelled by its own cargo, to study the concept of using ammonia as a marine fuel and achieve a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in shipping.

It shows ammonia can be used as marine fuel if a number of safety measures are included in the design.

“Reviewing all ammonia power generation options, the Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) is clearly the most efficient,” says Niels de Vries, Lead Naval Architect at C-Job Naval Architects and research lead.

“However, it does have practical challenges as the power density and load response capability are not on an acceptable level yet.

“Therefore, in the short term applying the internal combustion engine is the way to go.”

In 2017, C-Job established a consortium together with Proton Ventures and Enviu to investigate ammonia as marine fuel. It further joined Ammonia Energy Association in 2018 to study the topic.

With the completion of this theoretical research, C-Job will now move towards the next phases, which includes lab testing, pilot and evaluation.

Niels has been exploring renewable fuels for ships such as ammonia since 2016 for C-Job Naval Architects and has now completed several years of research culminating in his Master Thesis ‘Safe and effective application of ammonia as a marine fuel' at TU Delft.

He says: “While this research is unique in its scope and provides a valuable first step towards the application of ammonia as a marine fuel, further research is still required to explore its full potential and feasibility.”

With the International Maritime Organisation goals to reduce total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 and eventually fully eliminate harmful emissions, it is of the utmost importance that the global maritime industry looks into renewable fuels like hydrogen, ammonia and methanol, states the company.

The full research paper entitled ‘Safe and effective application of ammonia as a marine fuel’ can be found here.

Photo credit: C-Job Naval Architects
Published: 13 June, 2019


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