The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center has revealed that blue ammonia, a cleaner fuel option, will be widely available for the maritime industry by 2027. Blue ammonia is gaining attention due to its quick scalability and lower production costs compared to other eco-friendly fuels.
Advantages of Blue Ammonia
Blue ammonia stands out for its ability to rapidly expand using existing technologies, making it a cost-effective choice. Unlike unsubsidized e-fuels which can be expensive, and biofuels that face supply challenges, blue ammonia offers a feasible solution for transitioning maritime vessels to low-emission fuels.
Aiming for Decarbonization
The maritime industry is targeting a significant reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. The year 2030 is crucial as a stepping stone towards this goal. To achieve this, ships need to begin adopting cleaner fuels in the coming decade.
Promising Pathway for Blue Ammonia
Blue ammonia is derived from natural gas, with the CO2 byproduct captured and stored using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology. This results in a fuel with minimal emissions.
Scaling Up Blue Ammonia Production
Current ammonia plants already produce substantial amounts. With several large blue ammonia plants in development, production capacity is expected to increase significantly in the next 5 to 10 years. This paves the way for ships designed to use blue ammonia as a cost-effective and efficient fuel.
Carbon Storage Challenges
While blue ammonia holds promise, there is a need for expanded carbon storage capacity. The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center estimates that by 2030, the maritime industry will require around 34 million tonnes of blue ammonia annually, which would necessitate approximately 50 million tonnes of CO2 storage.
Meeting Storage Demands
Although the current global CO2 storage capacity appears insufficient, long-term estimates show abundant resources. Planned CO2 storage projects are on the rise, making it likely that blue ammonia production can meet the maritime industry’s demand by 2030.
Regulatory challenges to carbon storage are surmountable. Many countries are supporting Carbon Capture and Storage initiatives. Established oil and gas regions, such as North America, the Arabian Gulf, Norway, Australia, and Southeast Asia, have suitable geology for storage.
Anticipating Blue Ammonia Availability
With ongoing blue ammonia projects, an estimated eight million tonnes per year will be available by 2027-2028. Growing demand from shipping and other industries is driving supply expansion, reflecting a shift toward cleaner energy sources.
Further expansion of blue ammonia production after 2030 depends on the pace of demand growth. The shipping industry’s adoption of ammonia as fuel will determine investment decisions for blue fuel production.
In essence, blue ammonia is positioned to revolutionize the maritime sector, offering a greener path for ships and contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.