A new report by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has found that ammonia is a key green fuel in shipping’s decarbonisation by 2050.
As part of the MarE-Fuel project, researchers from DTU together with Anker Invest, Maersk Line, Copenhagen Economics, OMT, and DFDS, and with funding from the Danish Maritime Fund and Lauritzen Fonden, have calculated the total cost for a maritime company to use different green fuels.
According to the analysis, the cheapest solution for the industry to achieve a reduction of emissions is initially to use green fuels produced by sustainable biomass—first in the form of pyrolysis oil and then in the form of bio-e-methanol.
However, in the long-term, there is likely to be a shortage of sustainable biomass.
Ammonia will be an important fuel for 2050, but it must be converted from green power into hydrogen via electrolysis before it can be turned into liquid ammonia.
“We can see that ammonia will be one of the important green fuels for the shipping industry the closer we get to 2050. If we’re to meet the need for fuel for international shipping, we must now start building more plants that can produce electrolysis. With the current expansion rate (2019), it will—in fact—take up to 3,000 years before we have enough plants,” explained Professor Peter Vang Hendriksen, an expert in electrolysis and energy conversion at DTU Energy.
He says that more electrolysis plants will be required no matter which green fuels are to be produced using Power-to-X technology, and for this more green power will be needed.
Calculations done by the researchers show that the price of producing green fuels is about four times higher than the price of the corresponding substances produced today from fossil sources. However, scaling up production capacity, gains from ass production, and improvements in technology are expected to halve the price of green fuels by 2050.