Korean shipbuilder Hanwha Ocean has partnered with sibling company Hanwha Aerospace to use technology from ammonia-to-power business Amogy in a fuel cell system to power ships with ammonia. 

The contract will see Hanwha Ocean, part of the Hanwha Group, use Amogy’s ammonia cracking technology alongside Hanwha Aerospace’s hydrogen fuel cell system to power zero-emission ships in the future.

Hyoung Seog Kim, executive vice president at Hanwha Ocean, described ammonia as a ‘stand out’ source of eco-friendly energy thanks to “strengths in storage and transportation”. 

He said: “Through this partnership, and with Amogy’s ammonia-to-electrical power system and Hanwha Aerospace’s hydrogen fuel cell system, we move toward a more sustainable and carbon-neutral future.” 

The partnership comes just over a month after technology and mining company Fortescue completed the first use of ammonia as a shipping fuel in March, conducting a test of its Fortescue Green Pioneer ship in the Port of Singapore. 

While ammonia can be used as a fuel in a few different forms, Amogy’s ammonia cracking solution is designed for direct fuel cell integration by ensuring that no trace amounts of ammonia make it into the referment stream. 

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By using a cracker to convert the gas to hydrogen and nitrogen, the solution avoids the emission of nitrogen oxide which occurs when ammonia is burned directly, though issues could still arise if ammonia, which is toxic, is leaked at the start of the process. 

Seonghoon Woo, CEO of Amogy, said: “By combining our ammonia-to-power technology with Hanwha Ocean’s industry-leading shipbuilding capabilities and Hanwha Aerospace’s fuel cell system expertise, we are setting a new standard for clean energy in the maritime sector.” 

Though Amogy’s technology has yet to be tested on a vessel at sea, the company has conducted demonstrations on a tractor and a truck and is set to conduct its first vessel demonstration later in 2024 or early 2025. 

Additionally, Hanwha’s investment into the company will be seen as a boost for its technology and sets the business up to supply newbuilds with its system when it reaches full commercialisation, set for mid-2025.