WMU Hosts Workshop on Ammonia and Hydrogen as Maritime Fuels

Maritime experts from the government sector, industry, civil society and academia gathered at the World Maritime University (WMU) in Malmö, Sweden from 20-21 April to discuss ammonia and hydrogen as alternative maritime fuels. The workshop entitled “Nordic Maritime Transport and Energy Research Programme - Ammonia and Hydrogen as Maritime Fuels,” was organized as part of the Nordic Maritime Transport and Energy Research Programme (NER). Three research projects, AEGIR, CAHEMA and HOPE conducted the two-day workshop to discuss their ongoing work.

Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, welcomed the participants saying, “The maritime industry is standing at the beginning of one of its greatest technological challenges, as it prepares to transition to a zero and low-emission industry through the adoption of technological innovations. Hydrogen and ammonia are two fuels which contain no carbon, and thus offer the possibility of a zero-carbon energy source, in line with the IMO initial GHG strategy and Paris Agreement goals.” However, she acknowledged there are significant challenges to overcome regarding their use. “Hydrogen and ammonia must become affordable and available across the globe, if they are to play a significant role in international shipping. And finally they must be used in an energy efficient and sustainable manner, in order to ensure minimal environmental impact over their entire life-cycle,” she said.

The workshop discussed various energy conversion technologies such as engines and fuel cells, and discussed business aspects and life-cycle impacts. Presentations from the workshop are available through the Nordic Energy Research website. Nearly 50 participants from 15 countries attended the workshop, including WMU Maritime Energy Management students and researchers. This was the second NER event hosted by WMU. - A seminar in 2020 focused on “Prospects for energy and maritime transport in the Nordic region”  and resulted in the publication of an ITF report “Navigating Towards Cleaner Maritime Shipping”.

WMU is a CAHEMA project partner and hosting the workshop supports WMU’s commitment to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular Goal 7 focused on affordable and clean energy and Goal 13 focused on climate action. Through cutting-edge education and research in the Maritime Energy Management (MEM) field, WMU works to support the achievement of sustainable, zero/low-carbon and energy-efficient maritime and ocean industries. WMU’s MEM educational offerings include the groundbreaking MEM MSc specialization that was introduced in 2015, and a recently launched Postgraduate Diploma in Maritime Energy delivered by distance learning. WMU’s Maritime Energy Management Research Priority Area focuses on the fundamental understanding of energy in a maritime context and the application of evidence-based knowledge across the field from ships to ports, and from oceans to shipyards, to ensure the cost-effective, safe and environmentally friendly use of resources. The book Trends and Challenges in Maritime Energy Management, was published in 2018 as an outcome of the International Conference on Maritime Energy Management (MARENER 2017) hosted at WMU in 2017. It was one of the most downloaded books in its category in 2018.


Ammonia electric marine power for GHG emission reduction (AEGIR) proposes a unique fuel cell and membrane-based system for efficient conversion of green ammonia to electrical energy. In this concept, ammonia is (i) cracked to H2 and N2 using a solid oxide fuel cell; (ii) H2 is extracted and purified using a proton conducting electrochemical membrane; and (iii) converted to electricity using a polymer exchange membrane fuel cell. By combining these three technologies, AEGIR aims at developing an ammonia-fuelled ship propulsion system that offers high efficiency in combination with a low total system volume and weight, which is the key innovation of the project. Furthermore, the concept avoids emissions of NOX and allows for a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions; the product of the fuel cell electricity process is water.

Concepts of ammonia/hydrogen engines for marine application (CAHEMA)
investigates innovative injection and combustion strategies using ammonia and hydrogen in combination, to achieve Reactivity Controlled Compression Ignition (RCCI) and Direct-injection dual fuel stratification (DDFS) with these fuels. The project combines advanced computational models and experimental techniques to develop these engine concepts, and assess the potential environmental, economic and regulatory impacts. WMU’s role as a project partner is to conduct life-cycle assessments of the technologies, communicate project results and evaluate the environmental and socio-economic impact of these new fuels. 

Hydrogen fuel cells solutions in shipping in relation to other low carbon options – a Nordic perspective (HOPE)
, includes developing and evaluating a concept design for a vessel for short sea shipping that uses hydrogen as fuel and fuel cells for propulsion. Technical aspects are included, as well as barriers and drivers for the realization of such vessels in the Nordic region and the impact on greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

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