Wärtsilä has developed a four-stroke, engine-based platform for ammonia fuel that is now available for commercial use in sustainable shipping operations.
The engine, which the company calls the Wärtsilä 25 Ammonia solution, is able to process ammonia fuel, a zero-emissions solution identified as a viable fuel alternative for maritime shipping. Wärtsilä’s full ammonia solution includes a gas supply system, an ammonia release mitigation system, and a NOx reducer for optimal exhaust after-treatment. It also features an automated system and maintenance agreement for smooth operations.
The Wärtsilä 25 Ammonia solution reportedly allows for easy adoption of sustainable fuels — it has been previously able to operate on diesel, liquefied natural gas, and biofuels, and now may also operate on ammonia. The engine is able to reduce emissions by over 70% compared to similar-sized diesel engines, according to the company.
Viridis Bulk Carriers will be the first company to use the new ammonia solution and has signed a Letter of Intent with Wärtsilä, aiming to sign a commercial contract in early 2024.
“The maritime industry must significantly reduce its emissions if we are to succeed in reaching the goals set in the Paris agreement,” said André Risholm, board member at Viridis Bulk Carriers. “The adoption of new technologies and ammonia as a carbon free fuel is central to this. We are delighted to partner with Wärtsilä on another important milestone for our ammonia-powered short sea bulk vessels.”
Shipping Sector Explores Various Alternative Fuels
As the shipping sector explores decarbonization strategies, a number of alternative fuels are being investigated, with some already brought to the market.
Recently, Crowley and BWXT Technologies developed a concept for a ship powered by an onboard nuclear microreactor that may also serve as backup energy for coastal locations. Advent Technologies has also released a fuel cell-based battery solution powered by low-emissions methanol, biomethanol, or eMethanol.
Ammonia has been found to have a low comparative cost to other alternative fuels for shipping and is reportedly highly scalable. Efforts to establish the world’s first ammonia bunkering network were also announced earlier this year as the fuel source becomes more widely available for commercial use.