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Ammonia (bunkering)


Technology Description

Ammonia is easier to store than hydrogen. It can be stored in a liquid form in pressurised tanks (1 Mpa, ambient temperature) or at ambient pressure with a temperature of -33 °C (instead of -253 °C for H2). Refrigeration techniques are required, not cryogenics. Ammonia offers a higher volumetric energy content compared to hydrogen (+70%).
Ammonia is already produced and transported in large quantities around the world. Therefore bunker supplies could, in theory, be readily accommodated.
Ammonia is very toxic and thus specific design and operation measures need to be implemented: no bunkering at the same time as cargo loading/unloading; layout with ample space and minimized distances; if possible, remote operation to reduce personnel exposure; special procedures and protective equipment for the personnel; purging of the lines with inert gas and the possibility to drain ammonia back from ship to bunker.

Relevance for Net Zero

Ammonia is easier to store than hydrogen, and benefits from an already existing infrastructure and distribution network (due to its industrial use, mainly for fertiliser synthesis) which would need scaling up in case of broad application in shipping. There is a broad consensus among industry experts that the low production costs and lack of carbon dioxide emissions make ammonia perhaps the most promising low-emission fuel option for most, if not all, maritime operations, provided that safety and toxicity issues can be adequately addressed.

Key Countries

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