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Alfa Laval Test & Training Center receives approval for testing with ammonia

Authorities have approved testing with ammonia at the Alfa Laval Test & Training Center. When installation of the testing setup is completed by the end of 2022, the center will be able to work with all fuels in consideration as the marine industry decarbonizes.

Just as it has for LNG, biofuels and methanol, the center will deepen the knowledge of ammonia combustion and lead the development of needed onboard technologies.

The Alfa Laval Test & Training Center will explore ammonia’s properties and its behaviour in a wide range of systems. That includes combustion systems, such as the burners on Alfa Laval Aalborg boilers, but also fuel supply systems and fuel cells—in other words, the full chain of fuel preparation and handling, where we will look at both efficiency and safety. With our testing setup approved, we can be first off the block in the race towards ammonia implementation.

Safety is the first consideration in any testing situation. Existing safety regulations deal with ammonia as a coolant or fertilizer, whereas using ammonia as fuel at sea is a new area altogether. In our communication with the authorities, there was much discussion as to what was needed for safe marine-oriented testing.

—Alfa Laval’s Lars Skytte Jørgensen, Vice President Technology Development, Energy Systems

The testing setup includes a double-walled ammonia tank at a safe distance from other fuels, as well as double-walled piping with encapsulated welds for all pipes to and from the center. These barriers reflect the safety measures that will likely be required for ammonia on future vessels.

Initially, the testing itself will take place in a dedicated enclosure, using quantities small enough for emergency venting without risk to the environment or the engineers involved. At a later stage, full-scale testing will commence using both boilers and fuel cells.

With the setup approved, Alfa Laval will move swiftly to begin ammonia testing in early 2023.



I share the concerns of other posters about using ammonia due to its toxicity etc.

However, it should be noted that everything and all options have downsides, and simply ruling out anything which has any does not work.

I'd prefer methanol, but we really have to wait and see how the options pan out, and methanol has a lower energy density than ammonia.

That does not mean that we should not treat solutions with a considerable degree of scepticism, and like politicians, interested parties love to put the best gloss on things and avoid mentioning issues! ;-)

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