The global market demand for green ammonia

The potential global market demand for green ammonia is significant as decarbonisation strategies are being implemented to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from fossil fuels. The production process for ammonia is a reversible reaction, which means that green ammonia can be supplied into direct-use markets or used as a low-cost storage and transportation vector for the supply of green hydrogen.


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Green ammonia market sectors

The shipping sector is the 6th largest global CO2 emitter when ranked against countries’ CO2 emissions. 300 million tonnes of shipping fuel are currently used each year. The preference for implementing NH3 (ammonia) as a shipping fuel is due to lower the cost of the converter and storage compared with H2 (hydrogen), and the lower price compared with other bio, or electrofuels.
Ammonia can help decarbonise the existing fossil fuel sector as it can be blended with petrol/gasoline and biofuels up to 70% according to research by the USA’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy (ARPA-E). Ammonia-fossil fuel mixtures preserve the performance of Internal Combustion Engine’s and deliver a proportional drop in CO2 emission.
Using water electrolysis and renewable energy can make ammonia production completely carbon free. Ammonia can be burnt using combustion technologies, or in direct ammonia fuel cells to produce electricity when renewable energy cannot meet our demands. When used in this way ammonia turns back into air and water, so doesn’t pollute the atmosphere.
Annual CO2 emissions from feedstocks could be reduced by as much as 440 million tons in 2050, if hydrogen productions were to be largely decarbonised through technologies such as electrolysis powered by renewable electricity. Making ammonia carbon-free through this route, we could save over 40 million tons of CO2 each year in Europe alone, or over 360 million tons worldwide.
Fuel Cell Electric technology can be applied to land transport (cars, buses, trucks and trains), maritime and aviation. As a result, by 2050, fuel cell cars alone could replace 20 million barrels of oil per day in transport. Over 5,00 new refueling stations have been announced for 2030 - many of them are industry-government collaborations. China alone plans to ramp up to 1,000 stations (supporting up to one million vehicles) over the next decade, and California has plans for 1,000 refueling stations by 2030.

Decarbonising shipping fuel

Shipping is one of the largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sectors of the global economy. If shipping were a country, it would be the 6th biggest emitter.

The annual global sales of shipping fuel (bunker fuel) is currently around 300 million tonnes, and the global bunker fuel market was valued at $137.21 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $273.05 billion by 2025.

To address the sectors GHG emissions, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed a legally binding target to reduce overall carbon intensity by at least 40% by 2030, and 70% by 2050.

Within their decarbonisation strategy, different carbon and non-carbon fuels were considered, and the IMO concluded that for longer journeys, liquid hydrogen and liquid ammonia made with zero-emission electricity will be needed.

Green ammonia is a real solution

Global marine OEM, MAN Energy Solutions a major supplier to the global shipping sector is developing an ammonia-fuelled two-stroke engine for the marine market. MAN-ES will develop its existing ME-LGIP engine to run on ammonia with 50% efficiency.

Ammonia generated by renewable electricity such as wind has no carbon footprint and emits no CO2, SOx or particulate matter when burned in engines. It is expected to find favour in the maritime industry as it does not need cooling, unlike LNG or liquid hydrogen. It also boasts a higher energy density than liquid hydrogen, making it simpler to store in the quantities needed to fuel deep sea ships.

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