NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
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Japan's Consortium Achieves Milestone: Land-Based Tests of World's First Ammonia-Fueled Engine Prove Successful
By Seaandcoast | 20/05/2023
In a groundbreaking development for the maritime industry, a consortium consisting of Japan's leading companies, including NYK Line, IHI Power Systems, Nihon Shipyard, Japan Engine Corporation, and ClassNK, has achieved a major milestone in sustainable vessel propulsion. The consortium proudly announces the successful completion of land-based tests for the world's first four-stroke ammonia-fueled engine, signifying a significant leap forward in the pursuit of environmentally friendly shipping solutions.
Amid the global push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, the maritime sector has been under increasing pressure to adopt sustainable practices. Ammonia, with its potential to significantly reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, has emerged as a viable alternative fuel for the shipping industry. Recognizing the importance of this development, the Japanese consortium has been at the forefront of ammonia propulsion research and development.
The land-based tests, conducted with meticulous precision, have showcased the engine's outstanding performance and potential for commercialization. The engine, designed specifically for maritime applications, demonstrated stable combustion of ammonia with an impressive 80% co-firing ratio. This achievement validates the viability of ammonia propulsion and opens up new possibilities for sustainable maritime transportation.
IHI Power Systems played a pivotal role in this breakthrough by conducting operational tests at its Ota plant on a four-stroke marine engine, boasting a 280 mm bore. This engine is set to become the main power source for a tugboat, showcasing its real-world applicability. The rigorous testing process not only affirmed the engine's efficiency but also revealed its remarkable environmental performance. Notably, the tests confirmed that emissions of dinitrogen monoxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas with a significantly higher global warming potential than CO2, were virtually zero. Additionally, minimal unburnt ammonia was detected during the tests, highlighting the engine's excellent combustion characteristics.
Ensuring safety and reliability were paramount concerns throughout the project. The consortium demonstrated its commitment to environmental stewardship by ensuring there was no ammonia leakage from any of the demonstration equipment during operation or after shutdown. This meticulous attention to detail underscores the consortium's dedication to developing sustainable propulsion systems that meet the highest safety standards.
Buoyed by the success of these land-based tests, the consortium is moving forward with the installation of the ammonia-fueled engine on a tugboat, with completion expected by June of next year. This next phase of the project will allow for real-world validation and further refinement of the ammonia propulsion technology.
Looking ahead, the consortium's ambition extends beyond tugboats. Building on the research and development efforts for domestic vessels, the consortium aims to develop a 250 mm bore engine for the auxiliary propulsion system of an ocean-going vessel. This technology will find its first practical application in an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier scheduled for delivery in October 2026. The introduction of ammonia-fueled engines in commercial vessels will play a crucial role in significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping the maritime industry achieve its sustainability targets.