Peer-reviewed study declares definitive figures for GHG reduction potential with the use of ammonia as a marine fuel

LONDON, 10th June 2024: An independent study has confirmed that greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions of up to 61% are now achievable from using ammonia as a marine fuel, depending on the marine technology employed. This figure is compared with the emissions of current oil-based marine fuels measured from well-to-wake (WtW)[1]. The 1st Life Cycle GHG Emission Study on the Use of Ammonia as a Marine Fuel from Sphera, a leading global provider of environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and risk management software, data and consulting services, uses the latest available marine engine and supply chain data available to date.

The study, commissioned by SGMF, was conducted according to International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. It was also reviewed by a panel of leading independent academic experts from key institutions in France, Germany, and the USA. The analysis concluded that ammonia can “beyond question” contribute significantly to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) GHG reduction targets.

Commenting on the research, SGMF Chairman Tom Strang said: “This is an important piece of work by SGMF that will help inform the maritime sector on the use of ammonia as a marine fuel and reinforces the importance of working together across all the different decarbonisation pathways, and for me highlights why we are part of SGMF”.

This comprehensive report uses the latest primary data to assess all major types of marine engines and global sources of supply with quality data provided by original equipment manufacturers including Wärtsilä, Winterthur Gas & Diesel & MAN Energy Solutions, but also Yara Clean Ammonia, and BASF on the supply side. GHG emissions from the supply chains as well as emissions released during the onboard combustion process (slip) have been included in the analysis.

Strang added: “It is important that an independent organisation like SGMF provides quality independent reports such as this latest life cycle assessment (LCA). The industry needs credible information and this is a landmark report as far as ammonia as a marine fuel is concerned.”

Mark Bell, GM for SGMF, added: “We are confident this work will provide IMO with solid information that will contribute to its regulatory decisions. SGMF will continue to produce up-to-date data, now including ammonia (this study), methanol and hydrogen.”

Dr. Oliver Schuller, director sustainability consulting at Sphera, said: “The main goal of this study was to provide a fact-based report describing the life cycle GHG emissions on the use of ammonia as a marine fuel across the value chain from well-to-wake. The analysis followed the established international standards ISO 14040/44 on life cycle assessment and underwent a critical review by three independent experts.”

The full 1st  Lifecycle GHG Emission Study on the Use of Ammonia as a Marine Fuel can be accessed from here

[1] Well to wake – the measurement of GHG emissions from fuel production to fuel consumption on board a vessel.