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Ammonia as a fuel gains momentum in Asia

Photo: NYK ammonia_barge.png
The push towards using ammonia as a fuel is gaining momentum in Asia with three major projects announced in the last week.

NYK Line, Nihon Shipyard (NSY), ClassNK, and IHI Corporation (IHI) have signed a joint agreement to research and develop the world’s first ammonia floating storage and regasification barge (A-FSRB).

The barge would receive ammonia that has been transported by ship as a liquid and then regasify it for the gas to be sent to an onshore pipeline. NYK would provide the project management and decide on the base design; NSY would work on hull design and layout; ClassNK verification of safety and guidelines; and IHI on the discharging process.

“The parties will promote R&D with the aim of becoming a solution for introducing ammonia fuel mixed combustion to coal-fired power plants that domestic electric power companies are currently working on,” a joint statement said.

Meanwhile Singapore’s Jurong Port has come together with , Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Asia Pacific (MHI-AP) and JERA Asia in inking a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly explore establishing a 100% ammonia direct combustion power plant on Jurong Island.

MoU involves conducting a study into 60MW class gas turbine combined cycle plant fueled by 100% ammonia is planned to be set up to produce carbon-neutral electricity, as well as provide ship fuel for bunkering.

"We feel this MOU could help pave the way for encouraging the adoption of hydrogen in Singapore through aggregation of demand across multiple sectors, mainly the power sector and the maritime sector, thereby addressing the chicken-and-egg conundrum of infrastructure versus demand needs for maritime and domestic power generation,” Ooi Boon Hoe, Chief Executive Officer, Jurong Port.

Jurong Port is also a member of the Castor Initiative which is aiming to develop ammonia-fuelled vessels by the middle of the decade. The other members of the initiative are MISC, Lloyd’s Register (LR), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), MAN Energy Solutions, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), and Yara International.

MISC plans to invest in an ammonia-fuelled vessel as part of the initiative while Singapore’s MPA aims to develop the ability to fuel such a vessel in two – three years.

As Seatrade Maritime News reported last week Singapore shipyard group PaxOcean Engineering and bunker vessel operator Hong Lam Marine have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bureau Veritas (BV) to develop an ammonia bunker tanker design.

Some in the industry, however, have expressed concern over the safety of handling ammonia as marine fuel and its toxicity if there is a spill.