Review on the safe use of ammonia fuel cells in the maritime industry

Michail Cheliotis, Evangelos Boulougouris, Nikoletta L Trivyza, Gerasimos Theotokatos, George Livanos, George Mantalos, Athanasios Stubos, Emmanuel Stamatakis, Alexandros Venetsanos

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In April 2018, the International Maritime Organisation adopted an ambitious plan to contribute to the global efforts to reduce the Greenhouse Gas emissions, as set by the Paris Agreement, by targeting a 50% reduction in shipping’s Green House Gas emissions by 2050, benchmarked to 2008 levels. To meet these challenging goals, the maritime industry must introduce environmentally friendly fuels with negligible, or low SO X, NO X and CO 2 emissions. Ammonia use in maritime applications is considered promising, due to its high energy density, low flammability, easy storage and low production cost. Moreover, ammonia can be used as fuel in a variety of propulsors such as fuel cells and can be produced from renewable sources. As a result, ammonia can be used as a versatile marine fuel, exploiting the existing infrastructure, and having zero SO X and CO 2 emissions. However, there are several challenges to overcome for ammonia to become a compelling fuel towards the decarbonisation of shipping. Such factors include the selection of the appropriate ammonia-fuelled power generator, the selection of the appropriate system safety assessment tool, and mitigating measures to address the hazards of ammonia. This paper discusses the state-of-the-art of ammonia fuelled fuel cells for marine applications and presents their potential, and challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3023
Number of pages20
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2021


  • zero-carbon
  • shipping
  • ammonia
  • power production
  • fuel cells
  • safety


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