Ammonia generated from renewable energy is considered a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels as the shipping industry decarbonises. The study, which used extensive modelling due to the scarcity of real-world data, focuses specifically on the impacts of large ammonia fuel spill scenarios on marine habitats.
Potential effects on aquatic environments and associated ecological receptors were assessed in scenarios if a spill were to occur during bunkering, or in the case of a ship’s collision and sinking. In addition, possible mitigation measures and specific spill management practices for these scenarios were modelled and studied.
The study presents a first look at ammonia's potential ecological impacts as a fuel. Further research is needed to evaluate the full range of ecological and health implications (especially to a ship’s crew) of ammonia, including the increased nitrogen deposition from chronic ammonia leakage and combustion by-products to determine its safety.