As the shipping industry strives to reduce its environmental impact, ammonia has emerged as a potential low-carbon fuel with promising characteristics. Unlike traditional marine fuels, ammonia is virtually free of sulphur oxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions, contributing to cleaner air quality. When produced using renewable energy, ammonia can achieve a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction of up to 90% compared to traditional fossil fuels. This makes it a viable option for achieving the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) target of reducing GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
Ammonia can be used in a variety of marine engines, including dual-fuel engines that can switch between ammonia and conventional fuels. Its high energy density and low viscosity make it a suitable option for long-range shipping operations. However, the widespread adoption of ammonia as a marine fuel faces challenges related to storage and bunkering infrastructure. Safe and efficient handling of ammonia requires specialised equipment and facilities, which are currently limited in the shipping industry.
Ammonia holds significant potential as a low-carbon fuel for maritime, offering a path towards cleaner, more sustainable operations. Whilst challenges remain, ongoing research and development efforts are paving the way for a future where ammonia plays a major role in decarbonizing the maritime sector.