This joint study produced by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Lloyd’s Register (LR) Maritime Decarbonisation Hub and Ricardo PLC, examines the potential marine environmental impacts of ammonia spills during its use as a shipping fuel.
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.