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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Jun 4, 2021

Ammonia and shipping

“The NoGAPS concept study examines the full value chain viability of powering ships with green ammonia. It finds that using green ammonia as a fuel is both practical and feasible. Focus should now be on measures that can strengthen the business case for zero-emission ammonia.” 

Ammonia and Hydrogen – Charley Rattan Associates

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 4, 2021

With a handful of different alternative fuels being looked at for shipping, I wonder whether this is an industry where we'll end up seeing one 'winner' emerge (e.g., how EVs are becoming the dominant personal vehicle alternative and thus cannibalizing the economies of scale that would be needed to make fuel cell or hydrogen work out in that market) or if it'll be more about identifying the proper fuel for each region/niche/situation. What do you think, Charley? 

Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Jun 7, 2021

The BEV comparison brings up an important point: BEVs offer car owners features that gas cars lack: convenient home refilling, smooth/quiet power, low maintenance.  So they are worth buying, even if they cost more.

For business applications (like shipping), cost is the primary factor.  So when the authors of the report ask about strengthening the business case, they are really asking if any government is going to subsidies this industry into existence.  Otherwise, it can't exist.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 7, 2021

That's a great point about new features being available for BEVs. Even just looking at EVs for corporate fleets, I've seen it said multiple times that for companies they're simply waiting for the moment for an EV fleet is one penny cheaper than running an ICE fleet and that's when the switch is made-- and that's even considering that they do have those extra features you mention. 

And for government subsidizing the industry into existence, the reason for doing so would be cost for the company and then decarbonization for the common good. The only time a company will prioritize their emissions over the cost of the shipping itself is when doing so also plays into that cast (whether by government mandate, subsidies that flip the economic script, some sort of carbon pricing model that contributes, etc.). The government has the obligation to look out for that common good externality while we hope the company cares to do so but knows they won't when doing so counters profits

Charley Rattan's picture
Charley Rattan on Jun 4, 2021

Hi Matt,


Lots of interest in ammonia right now even though is is awful stuff.  Some claim it will be the workhorse of any hydrogen economy  Let's see how the tests go

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