New ammonia-powered vessels: Newcastlemax & Panamax class

Rio Tinto and AngloEastern have announced they will develop Newcastlemax class, ammonia-powered bulk carriers. The dry cargo vessels will be the maximum size allowed to dock in the Port of Newcastle, Australia: an important coal & iron ore port in global maritime trade. Both AngloEastern and Rio Tinto are members of an Itochu-led maritime fuel study investigating the use of ammonia. In Japan, a "greener ships" consortium has produced its first-ever ammonia-powered design: a Panamax-class bulk carrier. And the China State Shipbuilding Corporation will develop two 93,000 m3 ammonia-powered ammonia carrier vessels, with Bureau Veritas granting AiP for the vessel design.


3rd generation ammonia synthesis: new catalysts & production pathways

We look at four new developments this week:

1. A team from DTU Energy and the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have uncovered a new class of alternative catalysts for mild condition ammonia synthesis. The ternary ruthenium complex hydrides Li4RuH6 and Ba2RuH6 avoid the energy-intensive pathway of nitrogen dissociation in a "synergistic" manner.

2. A team from the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials reported a highly selective (95%) plasma ammonia synthesis method.

3. A team from Delft University of Technology has presented an present an "unconventional electrochemical design" that physically separates hydrogen and dinitrogen activation sites.

4. A team at the Max Planck Institute for Coal Research has demonstrated a new mechanochemical ammonia synthesis system that operates at room temperature and pressures as low as 1 bar.


Maritime Sector is Set to Become ‘Ammonia-Ready’

Last month brought news of "the world’s first ammonia ready vessel.” According to an American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) press release, the vessel, currently under construction in China, will comply “with the ABS Ammonia Ready Level 1 requirements, indicating it is designed to be converted to run on ammonia in the future.” When completed, the 274-meter ship (and possibly two others of identical design) will join the fleet of Avin International.


Hydrogen Filling Stations: techno-economic analysis of on-site ammonia reforming and H2 purification

This month, a team of researchers from Fuzhou University in Fujian, China, published a new paper in the journal Sustainable Energy & Fuels that provides a “Techno-economic analysis and comprehensive optimization of an on-site hydrogen refuelling station system using ammonia.” The study concludes that “the H2 production cost of the NH3-fed on-site hydrogen refuelling station was at least 15% lower than other carbon-free routes (such as electrolysis, solar thermolysis, photo-electrolysis, etc.), and comparable to that of a methane steam reforming system with carbon capture and storage.”