NH3 can assume a key role in the energy transition


June 9, 2022

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NH3 can assume a key role in the energy transition

First high temperature ammonia powered fuel-cell for shipping, © Eidesvik

First high temperature ammonia powered fuel-cell for shipping, © Eidesvik

The production of ammonia for the fertilizer industry is, according to the IEA (International Energy Agency), the second most important area of hydrogen utilization. We therefore presented some concrete projects for the production of green ammonia in the July 2021 issue of H2-international. But what about the user side? Up to now, ammonia has hardly played any role as an energy carrier, although it could become an important source of energy, especially in transport by ship. The compound has numerous advantages over other energy mediums. At the same time, however, there are still many technical and logistical challenges to be solved, which are being addressed by, among others, the research projects ShipFC and Campfire.

Ammonia becomes liquid “already” down at -33 °C under ambient pressure or with just under 9 bar at 20 °C. This makes the compound much easier to store and transport than hydrogen. In addition, the energy density of liquid ammonia, 11.4 GJ/m3, is notably higher than that of liquid hydrogen, which is 8.52 GJ/m3.


The ship classification society DNV GL therefore presupposes that NH3 rather than LH2 (liquefied hydrogen) can play a role as a ship fuel. So in various research projects, scientists are looking for ways to use ammonia in engines and fuel cells.

First ammonia fuel cell on a ship
The first ammonia-based FC propulsion system for ships is to emerge from the project ShipFC. Involved in the project are 14 collaborating partners from Europe. The majority of them are from Norway, including the coordinator, NCE Maritime CleanTech. However, the German research institute Fraunhofer IMM (Fraunhofer-Institut für Mikrotechnik und Mikrosystem) is also part of the group.

The goal is to test an SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) with a power output of 2 MW on Viking Energy, a supply ship of the shipping company Eidesvik. Eidesvik wants to reduce their emissions to half by 2030 and be climate-neutral by 2050. It operates Viking Energy for the energy corporation Equinor.[…]

… Read this article to the end in the latest H2-International

Author: Eva Augsten

Kategorien: Germany

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1 Comment

  1. Arno A. Evers

    Please allow a question:
    When the production of ammonia for the fertilizer industry is,
    according to the IEA (International Energy Agency),
    the second most important area of hydrogen utilization,
    which one is the first?


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