Alfa Laval is gearing up to start testing with ammonia at its Test & Training Center in Aalborg, Denmark. With the necessary approvals granted, Alfa Laval aims to have installation of the testing setup completed by the end of the year. The center will then be able to work with all the fuels under consideration as the marine industry decarbonizes. Just as it has for LNG, biofuels and methanol, the center will deepen the knowledge of ammonia combustion and lead the development of the needed onboard technologies.
“The Alfa Laval Test & Training Center will explore ammonia’s properties and its behavior in a wide range of systems,” says Lars Skytte Jørgensen, vice president technology development, energy systems, at Alfa Laval. “That includes combustion systems, such as the burners on Alfa Laval Aalborg boilers, but also fuel supply systems and fuel cells – in other words, the full chain of fuel preparation and handling, where we will look at both efficiency and safety. With our testing setup approved, we can be first off the block in the race towards ammonia implementation.”
A PREVIEW OF SHIPBOARD SAFETY MEASURES
The ammonia testing setup being installed at the center gives a preview of the safety measures that will likely be required for ammonia on future vessels
“Safety is the first consideration in any testing situation,” says Jørgensen. “Existing safety regulations deal with ammonia as a coolant or fertilizer, whereas using ammonia as fuel at sea is a new area altogether. In our communication with the authorities, there was much discussion as to what was needed for safe marine-oriented testing.”
The testing setup includes a double-walled ammonia tank at a safe distance from other fuels, as well as double-walled piping with encapsulated welds for all pipes to and from the centre. These barriers reflect the safety measures that will likely be required for ammonia on future vessels. Initially, the testing itself will take place in a dedicated enclosure, using quantities small enough for emergency venting without risk to the environment or the engineers involved. At a later stage, full-scale testing will commence using both boilers and fuel cells.
With the setup approved, Alfa Laval says it will move swiftly to begin ammonia testing in early 2023.