Role of Green Ammonia in Global Shipping - India Renewable Energy Consulting – Solar, Biomass, Wind, Cleantech
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Role of Green Ammonia in Global Shipping

Here’s an article in safety4sea that talks about the potential of Green Ammonia for energy revolution in global shipping.

The key takeaways are

  1. Green ammonia is a promising alternative fuel for shipping, capable of fulfilling over 60% of global shipping’s energy needs.
  2. The IMO’s Fourth GHG study 2020 highlights green hydrogen-based fuels, including ammonia, as a key component in the sector’s decarbonization.
  3. Trafigura, a leading commodity trader, has identified green ammonia as a key future fuel.
  4. India’s Indian Hydrogen Initiative (IHI) is planning to commence studies on green ammonia production and utilization businesses.

Here’s a closer look at the role green ammonia plays in global shipping, along with specific data points and examples.

Environmental Benefits

  1. Carbon-Free Fuel: Green ammonia is carbon-free when used as a fuel, unlike traditional shipping fuels, which emit CO2. Given that shipping accounts for about 2-3% of global CO2 emissions, switching to green ammonia could significantly lower this footprint.
  2. Reduction of Greenhouse Gases: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. Using green ammonia aligns with this goal, as it produces zero carbon emissions when used as a fuel.

Practical Implementation

  1. Ammonia as Bunker Fuel: Ammonia has been explored as a potential bunker fuel for large ships. It can be stored as a liquid at relatively low pressures, making it easier to handle than gaseous hydrogen. It also has a high energy density compared to other zero-carbon fuels, meaning it can provide sufficient range for long-distance voyages.
  2. Retrofit Potential: Many existing ships could be retrofitted to use ammonia as a fuel, making it a feasible option for the existing global fleet. For example, engine manufacturers like MAN Energy Solutions have announced plans to develop dual-fuel engines that can run on both ammonia and conventional fuels.

Economic Considerations

  1. Cost Competitiveness: The cost of green ammonia is currently higher than conventional marine fuels, largely due to the high costs associated with renewable energy. However, as renewable energy becomes cheaper and carbon pricing measures are implemented, green ammonia could become economically competitive. Some projections suggest that green ammonia could be competitive with conventional marine fuels by the 2030s.
  2. Infrastructure Requirements: The infrastructure for green ammonia is still developing. Ports and bunkering facilities would need to adapt to handle ammonia safely, requiring investments. Nonetheless, ammonia’s existing role in the fertilizer industry means that some infrastructure already exists, which could facilitate a smoother transition.

Real-World Examples

  1. Shipping Projects: Several maritime companies are exploring green ammonia as a fuel. For example, the shipping company Maersk has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and is investigating green ammonia as one of its alternative fuel options. Similarly, Yara International, a major ammonia producer, is working on green ammonia projects to supply clean fuel for shipping.
  2. Demonstration Projects: The Ammonia Energy Association has highlighted several demonstration projects for green ammonia-powered ships. For instance, Norway’s Eidesvik Offshore is retrofitting a supply ship to operate on ammonia, showcasing the feasibility of using this fuel in real-world maritime applications.

Interestingly, we have some other posts related to this content:

Clean Ammonia Fuels Route from Western Australia to East Asia: Study by West Australia-East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor Consortium reveals feasibility of zero-emission ships powered by clean ammonia on iron ore trade routes.

Clean Ammonia Ships: Zero-Emission Shipping from Australia to Asia 2028: Article discusses clean ammonia powering ships on iron ore trade routes, with zero-emission vessels projected for 2028 and 5% adoption by 2030.

Ammonia Shipping Safety Concerns – by IRENA IRENA highlights the potential for ammonia to be a significant part of the global hydrogen trade by 2050, despite safety concerns and the need for careful handling and transportation protocols.

About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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