Feature Story | 10-Jun-2024

Reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50%, a promising signal for a shipbuilding powerhouse

The first time in the country, KIMM demonstrates the technology of using LNG-ammonia dual-fuel MW-class marine engine combustion

National Research Council of Science & Technology

MW-class marine engine combustion technology that uses ammonia, a future renewable energy source, as fuel will be applied on-site for the first time in Korea. The ship engine fueled by ammonia is expected to accelerate its competitiveness in the global market which aims to develop an environmentally friendly marine engine.

The joint research team led by the principal researcher Cheol-Woong Park of the Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (President Seog-Hyeon Ryu, hereinafter referred to as KIMM), the Korean Register, HD Hyundai Heavy Industries, HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering, the Korea Research Institute of Ships and Ocean Engineering (KRISO), and Kunsan National University successfully demonstrated technology of using the LNG-ammonia dual-fuel engines at the KR Test & Certification Center (KR TCC). This research has been tested with the support of the Ministry of Oceans and Fishers’ currently ‘Development of 2,100 horsepower LNG-ammonia co-firing engine.’

The research team has demonstrated the test by injecting ammonia at high pressure into the combustion chamber of a marine engine and has maintained stable combustion of high power and thermal efficiency. Ammonia is a promising carbon-neutral fuel. However, it is a difficult material to manage as a fuel supply due to concerns such as corrosiveness and toxicity. Furthermore, problems result in a decrease in engine power and efficiency in an ammonia-fueled marine engine because it requires high ignition energy to ignite, and incomplete combustion increases due to a slow combustion speed.

The technology demonstration testing ammonia as a fuel has been verified by changing the O-ring* material in the supply system in the ‘MW-class LNG-ammonia dual-fuel engine.’ The changing of the material has prevented corrosion and external leakage of ammonia and has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50%.
* O-ring: O-ring is a circular ring for sealing that is used in machinery.

The research team has satisfied the requirement of the ignition condition that requires high energy by optimizing the ammonia fuel injection timing and combustion speed. Additionally, the technology demonstration has solved both improving power output performance and reducing emissions at the same by injecting high-pressure ammonia fuel directly into the combustion chamber and maximizing thermal efficiency by mixing lean burn* with and air.
* Lean burn: Lean burn is the burning fuel with an excess air of the stoichiometric amount.

The senior researcher Cheol-Woong Park of the KIMM said, “MW-class ships, LNG-ammonia dual-fuel engine combustion technology is an exceptional technology that can satisfy greenhouse emission regulations and secure the forefront in the future of the shipbuilding industry.” He further noted, “The technology can be applied to a ship’s engines, it can also expand its application to various power sources that must reduce greenhouse emissions such as automobiles and generators.”



The Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials (KIMM) is a non-profit government-funded research institute under the Ministry of Science and ICT. Since its foundation in 1976, KIMM is contributing to economic growth of the nation by performing R&D on key technologies in machinery and materials, conducting reliability test evaluation, and commercializing the developed products and technologies.

This research has been tested with the support of the Ministry of Oceans and Fishers’ currently ‘development of 2,100 horsepower LNG-ammonia dual-fuel engine.’

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