Full scale testing of ammonia as a marine four-stroke fuel set to start next year

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Project leaders pictured at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Center’s test facility at Stord, Norway from left to right: Egil Hystad, Wärtsilä, Willy Wågen, Sustainable Catapult, and Kjell Storelid, Wärtsilä.

Wärtsilä reports that the world’s first long-term, full-scale test of ammonia as fuel in a marine four-stroke engine is planned to start in the first quarter of next year. The project brings together Wärtsilä, Norway’s Knutsen OAS Shipping AS and Spanish energy company Repsol. It is being backed with a NOK 20 million (about $2 million) grant from the Norwegian Research Council. The tests will take place at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Center’s testing facilities in Stord, Norway,

Ammonia is seen as a promising carbon-free fuel that can help the maritime industry meet IMO’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050. Ammonia also has significant potential for providing green energy to remote power systems, such as offshore installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

“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,” says Egil Hystad, General Manager, Market Innovation at Wärtsilä Marine Business. “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.”

Wärtsilä’s first ammonia combustions tests were commenced in Vaasa, Finland, in winter 2020 and will continue with the long-term testing at the Sustainable Energy Catapult Center facilities in Stord.

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