CMB.TECH's hydrogen and ammonia technology explained

CMB.TECH's core technology focuses on hydrogen combustion technology, hydrogen storage and hydrogen/ammonia implementation. The knowledge and experience has been gathered through more than 15 years of designing, testing and operating hydrogen systems.

We focus on hydrogen for small vessels and heavy duty applications and on ammonia for large vessels. The main advantage is that it will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time provide a robust and reliable solution.

Hydrogen combustion technology

CMB.TECH has developed a dual fuel hydrogen technology that uses internal combustion engines (H₂ICE).

Hydrogen is released from the storage tanks and brought to low pressure, then injected into the air inlet of the engine at the right time and dosage. By aspirating the hydrogen, a part of the traditional fuel is displaced to get the same amount of energy from combustion.

During hydrogen injection, the engine corrects its injection of traditional fuel. Less traditional fuel means less CO₂, so adding hydrogen equals a CO₂ reduction 1:1. The system is designed to work on top of the existing hardware and electronics of the engine and machine. It can therefore never affect the reliability or performance of the machine.

Learn more by watching the video!

Hydrogen storage

CMB.TECH has developed standardised hydrogen storage systems which are marine approved. A set of compressed hydrogen tanks are combined into one stillage which has its own control unit. Each tank has a pressure and temperature sensor, which is used by the control unit to determine the amount of hydrogen. The stillages are interchangeable, so in case of maintenance they can be easily swapped with the spare set by which service can be guaranteed.


Advantages over other technologies

Dual fuel hydrogen technology

  • Cost: optimised balance of maximised emission’s savings while ensuring that the extra required CAPEX is minimal.
  • Reliability: combustion engines are robust, reliable and have a long operational track record.
  • 100% hydrogen engines reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero, dual fuel engines reduce emissions significantly depending on the load and the engine type.
  • Back-up: dual fuel engines offer the added advantage of full traditional fuel back-up in case hydrogen is not available or too expensive. This is a very important added benefit for industrial and marine operators.
  • Available today: large marine and industrial applications can run on hydrogen today.

Hydrogen implementation

As the storage system for hydrogen and ammonia is heavier and more voluminous compared to traditional fuel, the implementation of the engines and the corresponding storage will affect the application’s capability. To minimise the impact on autonomy and payload capacity, a smart and specialist integration philosophy is required. Although dual fuel technology minimises the impact, a thorough study needs to be conducted to ensure that operational constraints, easy maintenance, weight balance, sight lines, and safety zones are respected. CMB.TECH has developed a methodology to implement hydrogen and ammonia in a wide variety of heavy-duty applications. Because owning, operating and maintaining heavy-duty systems is part of CMB.TECH's DNA, the system designs developed provide a competitive advantage in the market.


Ammonia technology

Ammonia (NH₃) is a compound made of nitrogen and hydrogen. It is a colourless gas with a pungent odour. It is an excellent source of hydrogen in its liquid form, containing twice as much hydrogen as liquid hydrogen by volume. Liquid ammonia can be stored in large tanks at room temperature and is as safe as gasoline and safer than propane. Around 188 million tonnes of ammonia are produced each year. Conventionally made ammonia is already stored and handled in 120 ports around the world, meaning it is easily accessible and available for shipping.

As the industry looks for sustainable fuel options, ammonia is emerging as a promising alternative. Ammonia (NH₃) as fuel burns CO₂-free like hydrogen as there is no carbon molecule in this fuel. Ammonia will significantly reduce SOₓ and particulate matter. Compared with hydrogen, ammonia has a higher energy density and is easier to store. Ammonia can be produced using renewable energy sources, which makes it a fuel of the future.

Large ships with two-stroke dual fuel engines can run on ammonia as fuel, which makes up about 95% of the mixture. The remaining 5% consists of pilot fuel, which is used for ignition. This means that ammonia engines are one of the best solutions to decarbonise shipping. Together with WinGD CMB.TECH is developing ammonia-powered engines.

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