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Ammonia for shipping

Ammonia is a synthetic product obtained from fossil fuels, biomass or renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro or thermal). When generated by renewable sources, ammonia will have virtually no carbon footprint or emit any CO2, SOx, particulate matter or unburned hydrocarbons when combusted.

Main advantages:

  • Zero CO2 emissions released during combustion
  • Significantly lowers SOx and particulate matters emissions
  • Relatively easy to store

Focus areas: 

  • High ignition energy required
  • Required storage volume for ammonia as fuel
  • Safe handling of ammonia
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Two-stroke ammonia engine development schedule


Learn more about ammonia engines

Frequently asked questions

How can liquid ammonia be stored?

Liquid ammonia can be stored at a pressure above 8.6 bar at ambient temperature (20°C). To keep it  liquid  when the ambient temperature increases, many ammonia tanks are designed for approximately 18 bar.

Can ammonia be used as fuel?

Ammonia can be used as an alternative fuel. Research explores the use in different sectors. The two-stroke ammonia engine by MAN Energy Solutions will offer the possibility to use this future fuel as a resource for shipping.

What are the technical challenges of ammonia?

There are several challenges concerning ammonia.

  • Ammonia is more difficult to ignite compared to other fuels. It burns slowly and has a high evaporation enthalpy. Furthermore, the emission characteristics will be different from conventional engines. 
  • Another factor to recognize is the on-board handling and safety. Ammonia itself is toxic and possesses an unacceptable odor even in low concentrations. Although the handling is known from ammonia tankers, it is significantly more difficult than that of LPG or methanol. Also, no venting to the surroundings is permitted

What are the advantages in the use of ammonia?

  • Ammonia is carbon- and sulphur-free and gives a clean combustion with near-zero generation of CO2 or SOX
  • Its volumetric energy density is higher than that for hydrogen.
  • As it is already widely used in the industrial process as an agricultural fertilizer, it is a commercially attractive product.

Continue reading

  • MAN B&W two-stroke engine operating on ammonia
    pdf, 733 KB

Other future fuels

  •  E-fuels

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MAN B&W ammonia engine development: Groundbreaking first engine test

Are you ready to dive into the details of the groundbreaking first two-stroke ammonia engine test that was completed at our Research Centre Copenhagen this summer? Then sign up for this MAN ExpertTalk!

You can look forward to learn about the progress of the development process and the  successful combustion that was performed on a MAN B&W two-stroke 4T50ME-X type.

We will also take a closer look at the design of the safety systems for fuel handling and the  positive results that revealed particularly promising data regarding combustion stability.

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