Image used for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: NYK
2 minutes read

NYK, Hitachi Zosen to develop N2O reactor for ammonia-powered ship

Japanese companies NYK and Hitachi Zosen Corporation have jointly proposed the development of N2O reactor for an ammonia-fueled ship.

As explained, the project aims to develop a catalytic removal system, N2O reactor, for nitrous oxide (N2O) emitted when ammonia is used as fuel.

In this project, Hitachi Zosen develops catalysts and equipment to reduce N2O for marine 2-stroke engines and optimizes equipment layout.

Meanwhile, NYK plans to install the N2O Reactor developed by Hitachi Zosen on an ammonia-fueled ship scheduled to be delivered in November 2026.

NYK conducts safety and performance verification on demonstration voyages. As a partner organization, ClassNK will conduct safety verification of N2O reactors and basic research on the development of international guidelines.

According to NYK, N2O’s global warming potential (a number that represents how well other GHGs are capable of warming the globe relative to CO2) is about 300 times that of CO2.

Therefore, reducing N2O emissions is essential in order to realize ammonia-fueled ships that are highly effective in reducing GHG emissions. By developing and disseminating an N2O reactor, the companies aim for the early realization of a carbon-neutral in international maritime transport.

The project, developed in cooperation with classification society ClassNK, has been selected by the Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) as a “Next-Generation Ship Development”, which was additionally invited in November 2023 as part of Green Innovation (GI Fund Projects).

In July 2023, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set a target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted from international marine transportation by or around 2050.

To achieve this target, as emphasized by NYK, it is imperative to prioritize R&D towards the creation of next-generation ships that do not emit GHGs.

In particular, the development of technology to convert marine fuel from conventional fossil fuels to alternative fuels such as ammonia, which emits no carbon dioxide (CO2) when combusted, is being promoted as GI Fund Projects.

In January this year, NYK revealed that, together with Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems, and Nihon Shipyard, signed a series of contracts to build the world’s first ammonia-fueled medium gas carrier (AFMGC) equipped with Japan-made engines.

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