As part of the tests, ammonia was injected into a combustion research unit to better understand its properties.

Based on initial results, the tests will continue on both dual-fuel and spark-ignited gas engines.

Then, field tests will follow in collaboration with ship owners from 2022, and potentially also with energy firms in the future.

The first tests have yielded promising results and we will continue to optimise combustion parameters,

...said Kaj Portin, General Manager, Fuel & Operational Flexibility, Wärtsilä Marine.

Ammonia is an attractive solution to decarbonization, as shipping explores how to fulfill the IMO’s vision of reducing GHG emissions from shipping by at least 50% by 2050.

The tests are just the latest step as Wärtsilä aims to develop a complete ammonia fuel solution comprising engines, fuel supply and storage.

Namely, the company is developing ammonia storage and supply systems as part of a project to install ammonia fuel cells on Eidesvik Offshore’s supply vessel Viking Energy by 2023.

Ammonia has a number of properties that require further investigation:

  • It ignites and burns poorly compared to other fuels and is toxic and corrosive, making safe handling and storage important.
  • Burning ammonia could also lead to higher NOx emissions unless controlled either by aftertreatment or by optimising the combustion process.
  • There is not a regulatory framework and class rules for ammonia use as a marine fuel.