TotalEnergies, partners to work on ammonia-powered ships

French LNG player TotalEnergies is further developing research into the viability of ammonia as an alternative marine fuel through its participation in a series of industry initiatives.

In its latest joint effort, TotalEnergies entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 22 companies across diverse industries to initiate a joint study on ammonia as an alternative marine fuel, the firm said on Friday.

These industries include energy, mining, power utility, chemical, terminal, shipping, shipbuilding, manufacturing, bunkering and classification society.

The other signatories, among others, include Itochu, Anglo American, Equinor, Jera, K-Line, Man Energy Solutions, Pavilion Energy, Trafugura, Uniper, and Vopak.

This joint study framework will address common cross-industry challenges that need to be overcome for ammonia to contribute to the decarbonization of the shipping industry, it said.

The challenges include the safety assessment of an ammonia-fueled ship and ammonia bunkering, ammonia fuel specification and the net carbon emissions from ammonia production.

Ammonia seen as “promising” alternative fuel for large vessels

As a carbon-free molecule, ammonia is a “promising” alternative fuel for large vessels and deep-sea shipping to “significantly” reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within the shipping industry.

In particular, green ammonia – produced from green hydrogen using renewable electricity, water and air – could play a major role in enabling the industry to meet the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) carbon emission reduction targets proposed by 2050, TotalEnergies said.

The Paris-based firm has also recently embarked on a joint project with other maritime industry leaders, through the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, to assess the technical, financial and environmental potential of converting existing vessels to future fuel solutions and technology, such as ammonia.

Furthermore, since 2019, TotalEnergies’ membership in the Ammonia Energy Association – a global industry association that promotes the responsible use of ammonia in a sustainable energy economy – has enabled the company to deepen its investigation of ammonia within its portfolio of clean energy technologies, it said.

In July 2020, TotalEnergies also set up a Clean Hydrogen business unit, giving shape to the company’s ambition to become a “leader in the mass production of clean hydrogen, the first building block of green ammonia.”

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