The technology group Wärtsilä, in close customer cooperation with Knutsen OAS Shipping AS and Repsol, as well as with the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre, will commence the world’s first long-term, full-scale, testing of ammonia as a fuel in a marine four-stroke combustion engine. (Earlier post.) The testing is made possible by a NOK 20-million (US$2.1 million) grant from the Norwegian Research Council through the DEMO 2000 program.
This is a great example that illustrates the importance of dedicated petroleum R&D. This DEMO 2000 project is another stepping stone for reaching our ambitious climate targets and it is also aligned with our recently published hydrogen strategy. We need to develop and use new technologies that reduce emissions. We are very happy to support development work that can lead to increased use of ammonia as a fuel in shipping and in the offshore sector. Know-how from this project will also provide important input to the development of regulations for the use of ammonia and other low-carbon fuels.—Tina Bru, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy
Ammonia is promising as a carbon-free fuel for marine applications, in view of the maritime industry’s need to fulfil the International Maritime Organisation’s vision of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050. Furthermore, ammonia has great potential for providing green energy to remote power systems, such as offshore installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
Development work by Wärtsilä, as it prepares for the use of ammonia as a fuel, continues with this testing program, which will be the world’s first full-scale four-stroke combustion engine test. The project will commence in the Sustainable Energy Catapult Center’s testing facilities at Stord, Norway during the first quarter of 2021.
Ammonia storage and supply systems will be designed and developed for maximum personal safety, and in parallel with the Fuel Gas Handling System under development as part of the EU project ShipFC. This project is coordinated by NCE Maritime CleanTech, and it involves an ammonia driven fuel cell which will be tested on the Eidesvik Offshore supply vessel, Viking Energy.—Egil Hystad, General Manager, Market Innovation at Wärtsilä Marine Business
Wärtsilä, as part of its development work on future fuels, has studied the use of ammonia as a future carbon-free fuel through the ZEEDS initiative. The company’s first ammonia combustions tests were commenced in Vaasa, Finland, in winter 2020, and will continue with this long-term testing at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Center facilities in Stord.
The full-scale fuel testing programme can pave the way for ammonia engines to be used in real vessel operations within few years, and several shipowners have shown interest in this possibility. It will also provide important insights into the long-term effect of an ammonia-fueled engine in relation to other systems and components in a vessel, including the required safety measures.