Authorities have granted approval for testing with ammonia at the Alfa Laval Test and Training Centre, which will enable the centre, once installation of the testing setup is completed by the end of 2022, to work with all fuels in consideration as the marine industry decarbonises.
Alfa Laval says it aims to serve marine customers at all stages of their decarbonisation journey, no matter which fuels they choose. As part of that strategy, the Alfa Laval Test and Training Centre will soon begin testing with ammonia. Just as it has for LNG, biofuels and methanol, the centre is expected to deepen the knowledge of ammonia combustion and lead the development of needed onboard technologies.
Lars Skytte Jørgensen, VP Technology Development, Energy Systems, Alfa Laval, said: “The Alfa Laval Test and Training Centre will explore ammonia’s properties and its behaviour in a wide range of systems. That includes combustion systems, such as the burners on Alfa Laval Aalborg boilers, but also fuel supply systems and fuel cells – in other words, the full chain of fuel preparation and handling, where we will look at both efficiency and safety. With our testing setup approved, we can be first off the block in the race towards ammonia implementation. Safety is the first consideration in any testing situation. Existing safety regulations deal with ammonia as a coolant or fertiliser, whereas using ammonia as fuel at sea is a new area altogether. In our communication with the authorities, there was much discussion as to what was needed for safe marine-oriented testing.”
The testing setup includes a double-walled ammonia tank at a safe distance from other fuels, as well as double-walled piping with encapsulated welds for all pipes to and from the centre. These barriers reflect the safety measures that will likely be required for ammonia on future vessels. Initially, the testing itself will take place in a dedicated enclosure, using quantities small enough for emergency venting without risk to the environment or the engineers involved. At a later stage, full-scale testing will commence using both boilers and fuel cells. Alfa Laval hopes to move swiftly to begin ammonia testing in early 2023.