NYK in Effort to Develop N2O Removal System for Ammonia-Fueled Ships

ammonia emissions
NYK will test the removal system on its previously ordered ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carriers (NYK)

Published Mar 7, 2024 6:05 PM by The Maritime Executive


A Japanese partnership between Hitachi Zosen Corporation and NYK (Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha) has been selected in a new research competition to develop the devices needed to eliminate nitric oxide (N2O) emissions when ammonia is heated and burned. While the industry is anxiously anticipating the introduction of ammonia as an alternative fuel to address the challenges of decarbonization, NYK highlights there is also a critical need to eliminate N2O emissions.

Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) launched in November 2023 the next round of its ongoing efforts to develop green technologies. Hitachi Zosen and NYK were selected as a “Next-Generation Ship Development,” by NEDO for their proposal to develop what they are calling an N2O Reactor to be employed on ammonia-fueled ships as a catalytic removal system for N2O. They will be receiving funding from NEDO as part of Green Innovation Fund Projects.

Hitachi Zosen has a strong track record and know-how in catalytic technology, including the development of a marine vessel selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system for removing nitrogen oxides (NOx) in marine engines. The company will be responsible for developing the device as well as the catalysts and control systems that will first be developed for a 2-stroke engine.

The companies highlight the critical importance of controlling N2O emissions. N2O's global warming potential they note has been estimated at about 300 times that of CO2. Therefore, the companies said reducing N2O emissions is essential in order to realize ammonia-fueled ships that are highly effective in reducing GHG emissions.

NYK will be working with Hitachi Zosen to optimize the equipment layout for installation aboard ships and ClassNK will be reviewing and contributing its expertise. It will perform the required verifications of the design. The project will be launching this year and is scheduled to run through 2027. 

NYK plans to install the N2O Reactor developed by Hitachi Zosen on an ammonia-fueled ship scheduled to be delivered in November 2026. NYK will also conduct safety and performance verification on demonstration voyages. 

As a shipping company, they have been working to develop opportunities for ammonia as a fuel and for the transport of ammonia. NYK has already ordered several ammonia-ready transport ships and now looks to further develop its lead in this emerging segment.