Ammonia Could Be Shipping’s Next-Gen Fuel of the future.

The quest of the Shipping industry to reduce Green House Gases and air pollutants emissions has led to many researches to finding the desired combination of fuels and technologies in order to achieve the goals of decarbonization. A recent report by Gibson, a shipbroker shows that Ammonia is attracting interest as a potential carbon-free fuel for shipping due to its high liquefaction temperature and energy density compared to hydrogen.

According to Gibson, “Ammonia is easier to store and transport compared to hydrogen. Also there is a well-established infrastructure system for handling ammonia, although there are no bunkering facilities currently, there is already significant industry expertise when it comes to handling it on-board as a cargo as opposed to hydrogen. The report further stated that The current efficiency of the ammonia conversion process is currently around 50%, which would need to be improved to help reduce production costs. Also, the competitiveness of hydrogen based fuels (like ammonia) will also depend on adoption of policy by either penalising the use of fossil fuels, such as CO2 pricing, or incentivising the use of clean fuels, such as clean fuel standards that are currently being considered at the IMO”.

The shipbroker said, though the main barrier to it being used as a fuel for shipping is that it is acutely toxic. On a positive note, ammonia can be used in a fuel cell as well as a conventional engine. It is therefore likely that Ammonia will be one of the future fuels developed to replace current fossil fuels. However, further technological advances are needed for ammonia fuel cells to see lower costs and become a viable alternative technology, Gibson concluded.

Louis Gyan Kofi
Author: Louis Gyan Kofi

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