Maritime ships could use Ammonia as a fuel to reduce emissions.
The maritime shipping industry is to grasp its carbon footprint, as it has a massive contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. It also dumps chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2% of global carbon emissions, as the BBC reported.
As a clean-up act, the industry is trying to stop burning diesel. As a possible fuel source, ammonia can make the shipping industry carbon emission-free.
We know, ammonia – the key ingredient of fertilisers – can be used in ships’ engines rather than burning diesel.
The industry expects ammonia will help a lot to tackle climate change, as it burns without CO2 emissions.
A report says, the making of the ammonia itself produces extensive CO2, but technology can solve this problem.
Manufacturing ammonia is also a major source of carbon. According to a report by the Royal Society, the manufacture of ammonia currently creates 1.8% of global CO2 emissions – a significant the most of any chemical industry.
However, the report says new technology can create zero-carbon ammonia. A possible way is by trapping the CO2 emissions when ammonia is manufactured and burying the CO2 in underground rocks.
Another way of making alleged “green” ammonia is to use renewable energy which doesn’t create any CO2.
But it is a big concern whether adequate clean energy is obtainable to create ammonia at scale soon.
Does ammonia power ships?
Man Energy Solutions, an engine designer, is making a two-stroke ammonia-powered engine. It will be ready by 2024.
The firm’s spokesman, Peter Kirkeby, said: “We get a very big interest in ammonia as an alternative fuel from the market – even though there are challenges.”
Also, he expected ammonia to match the price of other alternative fuels.
However, the ships powered by greener fuels may take more valuable space for fuel storage. Then It will be too bulky to fuel maritime ships.
However, there are still caveats. For example, ammonia does not burn as efficiently as diesel. It also creates nitrogen oxides, which are greenhouse gasses. However, the Royal Society report is optimistic that technology will address those problems, according to the BBC.
But the success remains challenging. Burning ammonia may not crate CO2, but it does generate nitrogen oxides. These are greenhouse gases too.
So, the technology requires to solve this issue to deal with this.
Thinking on ammonia?
The Royal Society’s lead author, Prof Bill David, reported: “Ammonia is the only zero-carbon fuel that will get you across the oceans.”
“We are going to install fuel cell modules with a total power of 2 MW onboard Viking Energy in 2024,” he added. “Hopefully, it will turn this vessel into the world’s first emission-free supply vessel.”
But he warned: “In terms of industrial emissions, ammonia derives only after cement and steel, so it requires to decarbonise the manufacture of ammonia.”
The UN shipping body, the IMO, has a target of splitting emissions from international shipping by 2050 compared with 2008.
A group of major maritime carriage owners says $2 should be taxed on every tonne of ships’ fuel to backing research into clean engines.
As a concern, environmentalists have consistently complained against the shipping industry regarding its emissions. Shortly, they want to reduce the amount of shipping overall and impose slower cruising speeds to save fuel.