Wärtsilä, Knutsen OAS Shipping, Repsol and Norway’s Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre are set to start the world’s first long term, full-scale testing of ammonia as a fuel in a marine four-stroke combustion engine.
The project will get underway in the Sustainable Energy Catapult Centre’s testing facilities at Stord, Norway during the first quarter of 2021 and has been supported by a 20 MNOK grant from the Norwegian Research Council through the DEMO 2000 programme.
According to Wärtsilä, the testing programme could ‘pave the way for ammonia engines to be used in real vessel operations within few years’ and provide ‘important insights into the long-term effect of an ammonia fuelled engine in relation to other systems and components in a vessel’.
Tina Bru, Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, commented: ‘This is a great example that illustrates the importance of dedicated petroleum R&D. This DEMO 2000 project is another steppingstone for reaching our ambitious climate targets and it is also aligned with our recently published hydrogen strategy. We need to develop and use new technologies that reduce emissions. We are very happy to support development work that can lead to increased use of ammonia as a fuel in shipping and in the offshore sector. Know-how from this project will also provide important input to the development of regulations for the use of ammonia and other low-carbon fuels.’
Egil Hystad, General Manager, Market Innovation at Wärtsilä Marine Business, added: ‘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.’