Ammonia could be the ‘fuel of the future’ for shipping. The shipping industry could turn to ammonia to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Last month, Wärtsilä, a Finnish manufacturing firm, announced that it was working on the world’s first full-scale test of ammonia as a green fuel in ships. And for good reason. The International Maritime Organisation is pushing the sector to cut its emissions in half by 2050. Typically, ammonia is made in a process known as steam reforming. Hydrogen is generated from a reaction involving methane, water and air, and then combined with nitrogen in a process known as the Haber method. However, carbon dioxide is produced as a byproduct. Dr John Constable, director of the New Energy Foundation, sees one fix for this that banks on carbon capture and storage, a relatively unproven technology that reels carbon dioxide from the air and stores it deep underground. “If you can capture the carbon from steam methane reforming, it may be clean at the point of consumption,” he says. Another method picking up traction from Wärtsilä involves the use of electricity generated by wind farms to split water into its constituent components of hydrogen and oxygen through a process known as electrolysis. That hydrogen can then be combined with nitrogen pulled from the atmosphere to create ammonia in a way that has cut carbon emissions altogether. For years, the method has proved too costly given the high price of renewable energy, but it is getting cheaper.
Telegraph 12th July 2020 read more »