Wärtsilä and SHI agree to collaborate on ammonia fuelled engines for future newbuilds

Source: press release, 22 September 2021

Wärtsilä’s testing of ammonia as a viable fuel for shipping and energy sector applications is part of its future fuels development programme
Wärtsilä’s testing of ammonia as a viable fuel for shipping and energy sector applications is part of its future fuels development programme (photo: Wärtsilä)

The technology group Wärtsilä and the Korean shipbuilding company Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) have signed a joint development programme (JDP) agreement aimed at developing ammonia-fuelled vessels with 4-stroke auxiliary engines available for future newbuild projects. Both parties recognise the importance of future carbon-free fuels in the marine industry’s drive towards decarbonisation. The agreement was signed in July 2021.

Wärtsilä has a leading role in developing engines for operation on future clean fuels and has already successfully tested an engine running with a fuel mix containing 70% ammonia. The company anticipates having an engine concept capable of operating with 100% ammonia in 2023.

“There is a lot of interest from owners and operators in the potential for new clean-burning fuels, and ammonia is thought to be among the most promising of these candidates. Wärtsilä has already made significant progress in testing ammonia, and we are pleased to work together with them to bring this to reality,” says Youngkyu Ahn, Vice President, SHI.

“Decarbonisation has become the industry’s goal, and we at Wärtsilä are committed to doing everything possible to achieve this ambition. The adoption of a new generation of carbon-free fuels is central to a decarbonised future for shipping, so this JDP agreement represents an important step forward,” says Östen Lindell, Sales Director, Wärtsilä Marine Power.

According to SHI, the most likely initial newbuild targets for ships utilising ammonia fuel will be container vessels and very large crude carriers, operating with 2-stroke main engines and 4-stroke Wärtsilä auxiliary engines.