Stolt-Nielsen units explore potential of ammonia as alternative fuel

Stolt-Nielsen’s units Stolthaven Terminals and Stolt Tankers are exploring the potential of ammonia as a greener alternative to traditional petroleum-based marine fuels to support the ongoing transition to low and zero-carbon energies.

Stolt Tankers

In line with this, Stolthaven Terminals, a provider of storage services for bulk liquids and gases, has joined the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA) – a global nonprofit industry association that promotes the responsible use of ammonia as part of a sustainable energy economy.

Stolthaven is involved in a number of projects worldwide that are exploring the transition to green and blue energy, and the AEA provides essential resources, insights and industry connections to support further progress in this area, the company stated.

Pim van den Doel, Commercial and Business Development Manager, EMEA, said: “As an infrastructure company with terminal assets and facilities in strategic locations, we believe we can complement other AEA members, many of which are technology companies or producers. 

“We look forward to working with member organisations to develop projects that continue to drive the reduction of emissions and promote increasingly sustainable operations across the supply chain.”

Stolthaven Terminals is currently taking part in projects to provide storage solutions for hydrogen, ammonia and green methanol, including its new joint-venture terminal in Taiwan, a potential ammonia import facility at the Advario Stolthaven Antwerp terminal in partnership with Fluxys, and a potential project in partnership with the Pecém Industrial and Port Complex in Brazil to develop a terminal focused on storing and handling green hydrogen and associated products such as ammonia.

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Furthermore, Stolt-Nielsen’s tanker operating unit, Stolt Tankers, has recently participated in a webinar organised by the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (MMMZCS) on ammonia as a maritime fuel of the future. The company became an official partner to the centre in 2021.

In this webinar, which took place on 23 March, Stolt Tankers’ Business Partner – Sustainability and Decarbonisation, Giorgio Guadagna, discussed both the advantages and potential pitfalls of ammonia. This spans everything from ammonia’s clean performance as a fuel and relative easiness to store, to the need for further testing to establish its wider emissions profile.  

“Ammonia shows great potential as a maritime fuel, not least because it is carbon neutral“, said Giorgio. “However, more work is needed to demonstrate that it is equally free of ammonia, nitrogen oxides and nitrous oxide emissions, as anticipated by ammonia technology specialists.

“This work is crucial; while carbon emissions grab the lion’s share of attention, it is not the only challenge to overcome. For example, the global warming potential of nitrous oxide over 100 years is 265 times higher than carbon. But once ammonia’s sustainability credentials are validated, it has enormous potential as a fuel, and because most of the technology required for ships to sail on ammonia is already prepared and only requires fine-tuning, the transition can be swift.

“Stolt Tankers anticipates that there will be no one-size-fits-all solution to the energy transition. As such, we are committed to investigating any solution that holds potential for a cleaner maritime future.”

The webinar built on the conclusions presented in the MMMZCS white paper, ‘Managing emissions from ammonia-fueled vessels’. The paper is based on results from a dedicated working group that studied potential emission scenarios for ammonia-fueled internal combustion engines and technologies that can reduce emissions to acceptable levels.