Photo: Simon Møkster Shipping

Wärtsilä to investigate use of ammonia in LNG-powered engines

Finnish technology company Wärtsilä has joined forces with Norwegian shipping firm Simon Møkster Shipping to explore the use of ammonia in liquefied natural gas (LNG)-fuelled ship engines.

As informed, the partners will conduct a feasibility study on the use of ammonia as the primary fuel in dual-fuel engines running on LNG. The study will encompass the vessels operated by Simon Møkster Shipping which currently tun on LNG.

The aim of the project is to demonstrate that conversion of dual-fuel ships is feasible and that operation of ammonia-LNG vessels can be done in a safe and efficient way, according to the companies.

The partners plan to continue their partnership in the years to come.

Ammonia is emerging as the likely front-runner in the fourth propulsion revolution in the maritime industry driven by the sector’s urgent need to decarbonize. According to the predictions from the International Energy Agency (IEA), it will account for around 45% of global energy demand for shipping in 2050.

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Wärtsilä believes it will have the industry’s first engine running on ammonia already this year, as revealed by Juha Kytölä, Director of R&D and Engineering at Wärtsilä.

In July 2021, the company launched a major test program towards carbon-free solutions with hydrogen and ammonia fuels. The firm reported “encouraging results”, with one test engine performing very well when running on fuel with 70% ammonia content at a typical marine load range.

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The new projects are a part of Wärtsilä’s “Set for 30” commitment to achieving ambitious climate targets. According to the strategy, the company plans to become carbon-neutral in its own operations as well as to provide a product portfolio to be ready for zero-carbon fuels.

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“The energy and marine industries are on a decarbonisation journey, and the fuel flexibility of the engines powering these sectors is key to enable the transformation,” Håkan Agnevall, CEO of Wärtsilä concluded.