Sailing on Solar: Could green ammonia decarbonise international shipping?

Nick Ash & Tim Scarbrough, Environmental Defense Fund Energy Solutions Shipping & Ports

Sailing on Solar: Could green ammonia decarbonise international shipping?

‘Green ammonia’, produced using renewable electricity, is a fuel that does not emit greenhouse gases at any point in its product lifecycle and could play an important role in achieving the International Maritime Organization’s decarbonisation goals. Until recently, there has been little motivation to explore green ammonia as a maritime fuel. However, the International Maritime Organization’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels means that greenhouse gas-free fuels need to be adopted starting in the 2020s. Green ammonia is one candidate fuel that needs to be considered.

For an industry now familiar with fossil fuels, the idea of ammonia as a fuel may at first appear strange, daunting or even dangerous. This paper uses existing scientific data, basic chemistry, engineering knowledge and practical experience to show that green ammonia can – indeed should – be adopted as a greenhouse gas-free fuel more easily, quickly and safely than people may assume.

This paper explores the idea of establishing a green ammonia supply chain at the scale required for international shipping and shows how the technical and economic barriers can be overcome using existing proven technology. 

Read the full paper here.

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