Ammonia Helping the Bunker Fuel Market Shift Toward Greener Technology
Posted On February 25, 2021
Ships form an important form of transporting cargo, taking as much as 90% of a load of all globally traded goods. However, Ships are known to be gas guzzlers, so much, so that marine transport produces 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. IMO (International Maritime Organization) is determined to reduce emissions to 50% by the year 2050, taking 2008 as the base year. This can only be achieced if we shift the transportation methods to green technology.
In consonance with this idea, researchers are working on an enormous engine with a height of about three floors to see if it can be made to run on ammonia. This may turn out to be a significant development in the Bunker Fuel Market as it will make the fuel inexpensive and considerably more environmental friendly. This is because ammonia is less costly to store and also not too expensive to manufacture. The resources most significant advantage is that it does not contain any carbon and can be burn without forming carbon dioxide.
Ammonia is a crucial element in the manufacture of fertilizers, refrigerators, and cleaning products. However, as there is a dire need for new cleaner fuels to power ocean-going ships, it will be the best available due to its inherent benefits.
Man Energy Solution, the research organization, expects to install an ammonia ready engine on a ship by the year 2024. The first model would be a duel and run on conventional marine gas oil. Although conventional marine oil is less energy-rich than today’s marine fuels, liquid ammonia has more energy than hydrogen.
Hydrogen has been responsible for powering planes, trains, and cars for years. Even though it is cheaper to produce than ammonia, the problem lies in its storage. In order to store hydrogen, it needs to be kept at 253C. In comparison, ammonia becomes liquid at 34C and higher temperatures if under pressure. It sits particularly well with a medium setting.
Even though ammonia seems like the best solution, it poses several challenges. Burning ammonia can create nitrous oxides; hence the exhaust needs to be regularly cleaned so that this doesn’t happen. The gas is also toxic and requires careful handling and storage. The positive aspect is that there is already safety know-how and port infrastructure present as the fertilizer industry is well established. Thus, there is already some experience as to how to handle ammonia as a fuel.
In furtherance with this type of technology, a shipping company (Eidesvik) has come forward with the ambition to install ammonia fuel vessels by the end of 2023. Similar to batteries, these would be generating electrical energy, in turn powering a motor. A test version of this sort is already under development.
These new methods of generating power or motor is a big step towards driving for greener technology. In the future, methanol and biofuel may be considered for tests and experiments to provide substitutes for ammonia.