With the increasing global awareness of the effects of climate change, the search for new technologies which can increase efficiency, reduce costs plus carbon free fuels has intensified. The introduction of the IMO 20 light fuel has had a mixed response throughout the shipping industry and the race is accelerating to find a replacement for fossil fuels.

Although technology is being applied to many aspects of ship management, including better communications, it is research into alternative fuels reducing CO2 and emissions and a wide range of fuels that are being vital. The range of possible alternatives includes LNG and LPG, both fossil fuels, as well as methanol and biofuel, fuel cell systems(FC) and even wind -assisted propulsion. All of these need both time and considerable technical development and most require to be used in conjunction with clean fuels. The use of hydrogen, produced from natural gas, is a highly expensive alternative and in commercial terms would probably require large subsidies. Other possibilities include fuel cell systems-combined gas turbine and steam turbine integrated electric drive systems(COGES).

A new collaboration is searching for ways of installing an ammonia tank’s into containerships for the development of the ammonia dual fuel propulsion engine. Lloyds register, and Daewoo shipbuilding & Marine engineering and MAN energy solutions has led to the approval in principle for an ammonia fuelled 23,000 teu container ship. DSME develop the basic design of the ammonia propulsion system and MAN energy solutions was responsible for the development and specifications of the engine. Lloyds register reviewed the suitability and risks of the design in accordance with risk-based design process. A further phase will involve the development to meet market demand for commercial viability as well as technical and safety maturity. A spokesman for MAN stating that ammonia had much potential and a step towards decarbonising the marine sector.