Danish investment entity Innovation Fund Denmark has announced the establishment of a consortium to develop a two-stroke, ammonia-fuelled engine for maritime shipping.

It aims to specify and demonstrate an entire, marine-propulsion system that will pave the way for the first commercial order for an ammonia-fuelled vessel.

MAN Energy Solutions will lead the consortium that also numbers: Eltronic FuelTech, the Danish fuel-system supplier; the Technical University of Denmark (DTU); and DNV GL, the leading classification society. The development of the engine is scheduled for 2024.

“MAN Energy Solutions has spoken in favour of a maritime energy transition in shipping for many years now and we understand the need to work with a wide group of industry partners to develop sustainable solutions,” Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President, Head of Research & Development, Two-Stroke at MAN Energy Solutions, said.

“Ammonia is a fuel with a lot of potential and yet another, important step towards decarbonising the marine market. We already have a convincing track-record in developing engines running on alternative fuels – having developed the world’s first 2-stroke engines driven respectively by methanol, ethane and LPG – and have great expectations for this project.”

The project aims to demonstrate – at full-scale – a large marine engine running on ammonia at MAN Energy Solutions’ test facility, Research Centre Copenhagen. The project comprises three main stages:

1.         Concept development and initial design of an ammonia engine.

2.         Design of an ammonia fuel-supply system.

3.         Full-scale testing.

Ammonia does not contain carbon and its combustion does not produce CO2. Similarly, its production from electricity doesn’t require a carbon-based source, while its production is infinitely scalable.

Since large quantities of ammonia are already transported around the world, it is a well-established commodity with some 120 ports globally currently involved in its import/export and some with storage facilities.

Thus, the industry believes using ammonia to power ships would be a natural step with infrastructure already in place.

The AEngine project is adopting an interdisciplinary approach to cover the implications of using ammonia as fuel aboard a ship.

MAN Energy Solutions plans to integrate all developed technology into an ammonia propulsion-train and be responsible for fuel injection, the combustion system, and emission after-treatment technology, as well as all on-engine components. It will also be responsible for the test facility and engine testing.

Eltronic FuelTech will be responsible for the engine’s fuel-supply system, including the Fuel Valve Train and its integration with tanks, and purging and venting systems. Eltronic FuelTech will also supply the AEngine’s fuel-supply system and Fuel Valve Train to the test facility.

DTU’s Department of Chemical Engineering will be involved in investigating the chemistry of ammonia combustion and the formation of pollutants during combustion.

Similarly, DTU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering will support the project by acting as a consultant and transferring its experience from small ammonia-engine research to a larger-scale, full-size marine engine.

DNV-GL will cover safety regulation for the use of ammonia aboard ships and act as a consultant on questions where design decisions have an impact on safety.

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