Gas turbines that use natural gas as fuel are the main source of the power required for offshore operations. For this reason, they are also the main greenhouse gas emission sources on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Decarbonising offshore operations is necessary for reaching net-zero emissions goals. One way to fully decarbonise gas turbine operations is to use carbon-free fuels such as ammonia, especially in installations where implementing other emissions reduction solutions is not possible, for example, due to location. Ammonia is an attractive alternative fuel because it is energy dense, meaning a small volume contains a higher amount of energy compared to other fuels. In addition, ammonia is already transported commercially, and shipping technology is mature, so it would be possible to transport ammonia produced onshore to offshore facilities.
However, pure ammonia cannot be used as fuel for gas turbines. One solution is to "crack" the ammonia to produce a blend which can be used as gas turbine fuel. Ammonia cracking is commercial, but the current technology has significant drawbacks.
DECAMMP will contribute to overcoming key technical barriers to ammonia cracking, such as the lack of affordable catalysts that work at low temperatures. This would enable the surplus energy that is available in the offshore installations to be utilized. DECAMMP will also develop the required reactor technology, as well as an energy-efficient process that considers offshore requirements. This will be done considering the blends that are optimal for gas turbine operation and overall emissions reduction.
There is currently a large fleet of operating gas turbines worldwide that could benefit from the results of DECAMMP. While the concept is aimed at offshore applications, where the impact will be substantial, power generation using ammonia with low-temperature cracking is expected to also play a role in the future onshore integrated low-carbon power system.
Gas turbines using natural gas as fuel are the main source for generating electrical and mechanical power, as well as heat, in offshore oil and gas recovery installations. On the Norwegian Continental Shelf, gas turbines remain the main greenhouse gas emissions source. Ammonia and hydrogen do not produce CO2 when combusted to produce power or heat, and are thus regarded as potential alternative fuels to fully decarbonize greenfield and brownfield offshore oil and gas facilities, particularly remote locations where implementing other solutions is not feasible. Ammonia is an energy-dense fuel and shipping technology is mature. Considering the low upstream emissions of blue and green ammonia, there is large potential of reducing overall CO2 emissions by changing fuels. There is a large fleet of operating gas turbines worldwide that could benefit in the mid-term from such transition towards full decarbonization. The use of carbon-free fuels for power generation is therefore an attractive alternative to drastically reduce CO2 offshore emissions and reach 2030 and 2050 environmental goals.
The DECAMMP concept will enhance Norway's position as worldwide example for promoting and developing low-carbon offshore solutions. DECAMMP will develop the design for the critical components, processes and operational strategies required to enable the use of ammonia-hydrogen blends for carbon-free offshore power generation. With a holistic and interdisciplinary approach, DECAMMP will contribute to overcome existing key technical barriers for deployment, such as the lack of catalysts for low-temperature ammonia decomposition using the heat sources available offshore, as well as the lack of a compact reactor and process considering offshore requirements and operational demands.