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WÄRTSILÄ EMBARKS ON FULL-SCALE AMMONIA FUEL TRIALS

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 

Wärtsilä is to commence the first long term, full-scale, testing of ammonia as a fuel in a marine four-stroke combustion engine, in close customer cooperation with Knutsen OAS Shipping and Repsol, as well as with the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre.

The partners believe that ammonia shows considerable promise as a decarbonisation solution for marine applications, as well as powering offshore installations. The project will commence at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s testing facilities at Stord, Norway during the first quarter of 2021. 

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 Centre facilities in Stord. The testing is aided by a NOK20m grant from the Norwegian Research Council through the DEMO 2000 programme.

Egil Hystad, GM Market Innovation, Wärtsilä Marine Business, said: “We are really excited to further develop and understand the combustion properties of ammonia as a carbon free fuel in one of our multi-fuel engines. 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.”

“We are extremely pleased to be part of this project that will prove for the industry the robustness of ammonia as fuel. The project confirms our test facilities’ and Norway’s leading position within the testing and development of solutions for the use of maritime carbon-free fuels”, said Willie Wågen, CEO of Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre. The centre is part of the Norwegian Catapult programme that facilitates a national infrastructure for innovation.

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 provide insights into the long-term effect of an ammonia fuelled engine in relation to other systems and components in a vessel, including the required safety measures.  

“A future implementation of ammonia as a carbon free fuel, combined with clean energy production from offshore wind or other renewable energy sources can be the start of a new industrial era for the Norwegian industry”, Hystad said. “The Norwegian culture for collaboration and knowledge sharing across different companies and sectors, is a great support in closing big technology gaps. The assistance, cooperation and funding from governmental institutions are essential to drive the change towards a carbon free future.”

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