Using Ammonia Power To Decarbonize Ocean Shipping!

Credits: Ian Taylor/ Unsplash

Ammonia could be the carbon-free shipping fuel of the future, powering ocean vessels throughout the world’s seas. That could help slash emissions from ocean-going shipping, which accounts for 3% of worldwide greenhouse gasses, almost entirely from burning oil products. But before ammonia can make its way into cargo ships’ fuel tanks, a few things have to fall into place.

Solving Technological Hurdles

Amogy, a New York-based startup, is looking to solve some of the technological hurdles behind ammonia’s deployment as a climate solution. In its latest Series B-1 funding round, Amogy raised $139 million from backers including the venture arm of Saudi Aramco and SK Innovations. “We developed a technology, which is converting ammonia to power,” Amogy CEO and co-founder Seonghoon Woo said. 

As Woo pointed out, ammonia is the second-most produced chemical by mass after sulphuric acid. And because it’s used in other applications such as fertilizers, mature technologies already exist for storing and distributing it, unlike some other nascent fuel alternatives. Woo explained that Amogy has demonstrated its technology in other vehicles, such as drones and tractors, and is now working to retrofit existing tugboats to pilot the fuel in maritime applications.

Environmental And Safety Risks

Although Woo was optimistic about the transformative potential of ammonia, there’s still a lot to be learned about its application as an energy source. “The net impacts of ammonia deployed at scale throughout the energy and industrial system are not known, so it’s hard to say whether it lives up to the claims,” Paul Wolfram, a researcher at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory said. Ammonia theoretically has near-zero carbon emissions at its point of use. That could be instrumental in helping the IMO reach its goal of cutting emissions from international shipping by at least half of 2008 levels by 2025 and phasing out emissions entirely “as soon as possible in this century.”

Ammonia leakage rates from production, distribution, storage, and handling are “mostly unknown,” Wolfram noted. Furthermore, not all ammonia is clean ammonia. Today, 94% of ammonia is produced using natural gas and coal. But as the shipping industry pivots away from burning oil, many companies are starting to bet on ammonia, among other fuels and technologies, to fill the void. To reach its clean energy potential, the production of green ammonia using renewable energy will have to scale rapidly and the environmental risks will need to be studied and addressed. That will come with higher costs at this stage of development.

Did you subscribe to our newsletter?

It’s free! Click here to subscribe!

Source: Financeyahoo