Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Shipping Industry Could Replace Diesel Fuel With Ammonia to Reduce Emissions

Energy
Shipping Industry Could Replace Diesel Fuel With Ammonia to Reduce Emissions
Large storage tank of Ammonia at a fertilizer plant in Cubatão, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Luis Veiga / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.


In its efforts to clean up its act, the industry is looking to stop burning diesel and is exploring using ammonia as its fuel source. When ammonia burns, it does not create carbon dioxide emissions, as the BBC reported.

Recently, the European Union awarded just over $11 million to the ShipFC project, which is composed of 14 firms looking to make maritime shipping a bit greener. The money will be used to outfit a shipping vessel used by Norwegian energy company Equinor that has been running on diesel for 17 years with ammonia fuel cells, as CNBC reported.

"Together with Equinor, we are now launching a full-scale research project to test a propulsion solution based on fuel cells running on pure and emission-free ammonia," Jan Fredrik Meling, who is the CEO of Eidesvik Offshore, which made the ship, said according to CNBC.

"The goal is to install fuel cell modules with a total power of 2 MW (megawatts) on board Viking Energy in 2024," he added. "This will make the vessel the world's first emission-free supply vessel."

One of the hang-ups right now is that making ammonia is actually a huge source of carbon emissions, according to a report from the Royal Society. Ammonia production actually accounts for 1.8 percent of global CO2 emissions, which is by far the most of any chemical, as the BBC reported.

While producing ammonia is carbon-intensive, scientists believe that a cleaner, carbon-free way to produce ammonia will happen soon, either by trapping CO2 and burying it or by creating 'green' ammonia, according to the Royal Society report.

"We see a very big interest from the market in ammonia as a fuel – even though there are challenges," Peter Kirkeby, a spokesman for Man Energy Solutions, which is making ammonia powered engines, said to the BBC. "We expect the first ships fuelled with ammonia will be existing tankers that are already transporting ammonia for fertilizer. They know how to handle it."

Some of the largest names in shipping are getting behind the effort to use the fertilizer by-product as an alternative to shipping fuel. Recently, Korean Register, which verifies and certifies ships worldwide, touted ammonia as a viable clean energy since it does not require a large amount of technical expertise to use as fuel.

"The strength of ammonia is that it is relatively easy to store due to the rational energy, density and liquefaction temperature compared to hydrogen, the production and transport costs are lower compared to other carbon-neutral fuels, and has the technology for stable production and transport," a Korean Register technical report said, as Seatrade Maritime News reported.

However, there are still caveats. For example, ammonia does not burn as efficiently as diesel. It also creates nitrogen oxides, which are greenhouse gasses. However, the Royal Society report is optimistic that technology will address those problems, according to the BBC.

"Ammonia is the only zero-carbon fuel that will get you across the oceans," said the Royal Society's lead author, Bill David, as the BBC reported. And yet, he added, "In terms of emissions from industrial processes, ammonia comes only after cement and steel, so we need to decarbonize the production of ammonia."

A graphic shows how Rhoel Dinglasan's smartphone-based saliva test works. University of Florida

As the world continues to navigate the line between reopening and maintaining safety protocols to slow the spread of the coronavirus, rapid and accurate diagnostic screening remains critical to control the outbreak. New mobile-phone-based, self-administered COVID-19 tests being developed independently around the world could be a key breakthrough in making testing more widely available, especially in developing nations.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch