A review of ammonia as a compression ignition engine fuel

Pavlos Dimitriou*, Rahat Javaid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

383 Scopus citations


During the past decades, the diesel engine has been through times of upheaval, boom and bust. At the beginning of the century, almost 50% of the new vehicle registrations in the European market were diesel-powered. However, the news of deadly diesel NOx emissions supported by the diesel emission scandals caused a shock to the diesel engine market, and the sustainability of the diesel engine is currently in dispute. Recently major automotive manufacturers announced the development of diesel-powered vehicles with negligible NOx emissions. Moreover, the NOx emissions production is of lower concern for heavy-duty, marine or power generations applications where the implementation of advanced aftertreatment systems is feasible. However, despite the tackle of NOx emissions, the decarbonisation of the automotive, marine and power generation markets is mandatory for meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets and limiting global warming. The decarbonisation of the diesel engine can be achieved by the implementation of a carbon-free fuel such as ammonia. This paper provides a detailed overview of ammonia as a fuel for compression ignition engines. Ammonia can be combusted with diesel or any other lower autoignition temperature fuel in dual-fuel mode and lead to a significant reduction of carbon-based emissions. The development of advanced injection strategies can contribute to enhanced performance and overall emissions improvement. However, ammonia dual-fuel combustion currently suffers from relatively high unburned ammonia and NOx emissions because of the fuel-bound nitrogen. Therefore, the implementation of aftertreatment systems is required. Hence, ammonia as a compression ignition fuel can be currently seen as a feasible solution only for marine, power generation and possibly heavy-duty applications where no significant space constraints exist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7098-7118
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number11
StatePublished - 28 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Ammonia
  • Compression ignition engine
  • Diesel
  • Dual-fuel
  • Gaseous fuel
  • Hydrogen energy carrier


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