Engine room fire safety evaluation of ammonia as marine fuel

Timotheos Pomonis, Byongug Jeong, Chengi Kuo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ammonia fuelled vessels are not a distant reality anymore. Stricter emissions regulation policies and plans led by the International Maritime Organisation have urged the shipping industry to pave the way towards new alternative fuel solutions such as ammonia and hydrogen. This in turn has offered a great importance to assess thoroughly all the aspects regarding ammonia's safety onboard to ensure that its implementation as a fuel source will achieve the goal while minimising the danger for the ship, crew or environment. One of the most important issues, concerning a new fuel type is its fire safety. Fire is responsible for the majority of maritime accidents and statistically, almost all fires onboard can be traced back to the engine room of the ship. For this reason, this paper will examine whether ammonia constitutes a greater fire hazard than conventional fuel types in the event of an engine room fire. It is to showcase how a realistic engine room fire outbreak can be modelled for a case vessel of 50,000 dead weight tonnage bulk carrier. Four simulation scenarios are then modelled and their outputs are analysed and discussed. From the simulations process, it was evident that an ammonia fire does not present a greater danger than a diesel or natural gas fire. Ammonia’s fire behaviour was better than the conventional fuel fires with relation to soot formation and potential machinery damage. An ammonia fire provides a better evacuation window, it has more even temperature distribution through the engine space and the developed flame temperatures were lower. The main conclusion of this project is that due to ammonia flammability limits and thermal properties, a dispersion would take time thus reduce the likelihood of an ammonia fire occurring and is manageable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-90
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of International Maritime Safety, Environmental Affairs, and Shipping
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2022


  • fire
  • fire simulation
  • ammonia
  • greenhouse gases
  • safety
  • safety management
  • engine room
  • evacuation
  • marine fuel
  • toxicity

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