AmmoniaDrive Concept

Ammonia (NH3) is one of the most promising hydrogen carriers and clean, alternative fuels for long-distance shipping and other maritime, or heavy-duty, applications. When produced from renewable power, ammonia would decarbonize shipping and thus help to achieve the high-level goals of the Paris agreement to combat climate change. Ammonia enables a value chain without carbon in the loop, i.e. a carbon-free economy. However, successful application of ammonia as a (maritime) fuel is highly challenging due to its complex combustion properties, concerns about the effects on the marine environment and human (crew) safety as well as economic barriers.

The NWO Perspectief programma AmmoniaDrive addresses these issues by adopting ammonia in an innovative power and propulsion system for ships, or as onshore power plant for emergency power, utilising a combination of state-of-the-art Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) technology. The unique AmmoniaDrive power plant has the potential to make optimal use of the strengths of both energy converters (SOFC & ICE), utilise ammonia as both hydrogen and energy carrier and have a relatively small, and thus acceptable, impact on ship design. The result aimed for is a single-fuel, high-efficiency power plant that actually fits on board of ships and has no pollutant emissions anywhere in the energy chain.

Potential for new economic activity for ship designers, (maritime) equipment suppliers (incl. driveline designers and OEMs), shipyards, ammonia distributors, renewable-power-to-fuel companies, etc. is high, if the Dutch maritime industry starts to lead the worldwide Maritime Energy Transition with the AmmoniaDrive concept. The technical research in AmmoniaDrive addresses key hurdles for successful application of the system; NH3-fuelled SOFC’s, NH3-AOG (Anode-Off Gas) marine-sized engines, AmmoniaDrive system control and application in different ship types. From a safety perspective, research focuses on the mitigation of the effects of ammonia spills and toxic gas cloud formation. The business case for ammonia as a renewable e-fuel and the AmmoniaDrive system is studied to assess the techno-economic feasibility.