Norwegian shipowner Eidesvik Offshore together with Finland’s technology group Wärtsilä have recently joined forces to convert an offshore supply vessel (OSV), currently operating primarily with liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel, to operate with an ammonia-fuelled combustion engine by the end of 2023.
The first-of-its-kind conversion is expected to allow the vessel to operate with a 70% ammonia blend and ultimately achieve operation with 100% ammonia and with a minimum ignition fuel requirement. Wärtsilä said it has already successfully laboratory tested an engine powered by the same blend.
Eidesvik has used LNG fuel in its fleet from as early as 2003, and fuel cells from 2006. The company believes that to achieve the industry’s decarbonisation targets, not only newbuilds will need to have the appropriate technologies, but existing vessels must also be retrofitted accordingly.
“This project is yet another confirmation of our strong reputation as a pioneer in implementing new environmental technologies in both newbuilds and the existing fleet,” said Eidesvik CEO and president, Jan Fredrik Meling.
This is not the first green ammonia project for Wärtsilä and Eidesvik. The two companies are also partners in the EU-funded ShipFC project to equip a platform supply vessel, the Viking Energy, with a 2MW fuel cell running on green ammonia. The installation is scheduled to take place in late 2023.
Why grEEN ammonia?
Ammonia (NH 3) is a colorless fuel that emits no carbon dioxide when burned, it is abundant and common, and it can be made using renewable electricity, water, and air. Both fuel cells and internal combustion engines can use it and unlike hydrogen, it doesn’t have to be stored in high-pressure tanks or cryogenic dewars. For all these reasons, ammonia is gaining favor in the global shipping industry as shipping companies continue to seek climate-friendlier alternatives.
The traditional Haber-Bosch process used until now to produce virtually all of the world’s ammonia it is however energy and carbon intensive, believed to account for 1.8 percent, or half a billion metric tons, of human-caused global CO2 emissions each year. In order to decarbonize the ammonia-making process, electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and solar power, will be required. Only then green ammonia can play a meaningful part in reducing maritime emissions,