Environmental and Economic Assessment of Ammonia as a Fuel for Ships

This month, the Korean Register published a comparative assessment of the environmental and economic merits of using ammonia as a maritime fuel. The work, written in collaboration with researchers at Pusan National University, is published in the open-access Journal of Marine Science and Engineering. It concludes that “ammonia can be a carbon-free fuel for ships,” and presents “a meaningful approach toward solving GHG problems in the maritime industry.”

In this paper, we propose four propulsion systems for a 2500 Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit (TEU) container feeder ship. All of the proposed systems are fueled by ammonia; however, different power systems are used: main engine, generators, polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC), and solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Further, these systems are compared to the conventional main engine propulsion system that is fueled by heavy fuel oil, with a focus on the economic and environmental perspectives. By comparing the conventional and proposed systems, it is shown that ammonia can be a carbon-free fuel for ships. Moreover, among the proposed systems, the SOFC power system is the most eco-friendly alternative (up to 92.1%), even though it requires a high lifecycle cost than the others.

Kim, Roh, et al, A Preliminary Study on an Alternative Ship Propulsion System Fueled by Ammonia: Environmental and Economic Assessments, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, March 2020.
Figure 6. The simplified concept system for Case 5 [SOFC power system]. Kim, Roh, et al, A Preliminary Study on an Alternative Ship Propulsion System Fueled by Ammonia: Environmental and Economic Assessments, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, March 2020.

As we reported in detail last month, the Korean Register recently published a technical assessment of ammonia’s potential as a zero-emission maritime fuel, in which it makes an “explicit and complete case in ammonia’s favor.”

2
Comment

avatar
1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Trevor BrownCédric PHILIBERT Recent comment authors
newest oldest
Cédric PHILIBERT
Guest

Thanks for this excellent note Trevor. I would have chosen a different picture to illustrate it, that of the configuration with internal combustion engines. The changes in machinery are much less, volumes, weights and costs much less as well, the efficiency is lower but still bery good, and you can implement it on existing ships while their transformation into NH3-SOFC ships is much more demanding.