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EU PROJECT INVESTIGATES AMMONIA AS MARINE FUEL

EU PROJECT INVESTIGATES AMMONIA AS MARINE FUEL

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 

Netherlands-based ship design company C-Job is joining, as the sole ship design and engineering contributor, a consortium of maritime companies and organisations that together are looking at ways of enabling the decarbonisation of the industry.

The four-year, EU-funded project – designated Engimmonia – has two main objectives; accelerating the introduction of alternative fuels, specifically ammonia, and the identification and transfer to the maritime sector of proven clean energy technologies already in use in terrestrial applications.

C-Job Athens director Nikos Papapanagiotou said: “In terms of ship design and operation, vessels powered by ammonia or other clean energy solutions will require us to rethink what is considered standard. Currently, there’s little difference between vessels in how diesel engines are positioned and integrated. We need to break away from these standards and think outside the box when incorporating renewable marine fuels into the design.”

Engimmonia will run for four years. Three Greek shipping companies have each made a vessel available; a tanker, a passenger ferry, and a container vessel, respectively, for use as test beds as they go about their usual duties.

Papapanagiotou said: “C-Job is assisting on system and technology integration and managing design-related modifications. Additionally, we will support the supervision of the works when the technology is incorporated into the test vessels, and develop guidelines for the integration in next generation ship designs.”

Ammonia is recognised as a potential transition fuel from hydrocarbons to zero emissions. It is available in industrial quantities and is suitable for use in suitably modified internal combustion engines. However, burning it in this way produces NOx, a greenhouse gas, as a by-product. The ammonia engine for Engimmonia will be designed, engineered, and built by leading engine manufacturer MAN. It will then be evaluated under laboratory conditions with the data shared between the project partners. C-Job will use the information to develop guidelines describing how ammonia engines should be best installed and the design implications for both retrofit and new build vessels. This aspect of the program will also involve the development of an exhaust after-treatment system to neutralize the NOx emissions when using an internal combustion engine.

The project team will look at adapting proven land-based waste heat recovery systems for use with maritime ammonia engines. A prototype using Organic Rankine Cycle technology will be designed, built, and installed on the tanker and evaluated and optimised over time, with a view to making it suitable for upscaling in the future.

Other existing technologies with the potential to be implemented in the short to medium term include adsorption chilling, which exploits various waste heat sources to realise a water cooling effect. A system will be installed on the passenger vessel to cool certain areas and thereby reduce the power consumption of the conventional HVAC. Newly developed Photo-Voltaic modules will also be applied to selected areas on all three demo-vessels to evaluate their ability to harvest solar energy and their durability in the marine environment. The final element of Engimmonia is the development and integration of the software for fuel energy heat data collection and real-time optimisation on board.

C-Job will initially be assisting in the integration of the systems on board the test vessels, and in the second phase will review and evaluate the designs with the objective of creating a roadmap with guidelines to allow them to be replicated in the next generation of vessels. The company will be involved in drawing up the regulatory framework and classification rules for future low emission vessels.

“It will be interesting to see the actual impacts of these technologies and determine how they can best be implemented. Especially given the new regulations and standards that are coming through. In the near future there will almost certainly be a combination of low emission fuels in use depending on vessel types and applications, but the great thing about ammonia is that it is widely available now, so it’s an attractive place to start,” said Papapanagiotou.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

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