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Heavyweights to assess ammonia feasibility on US East Coast

Georgia Port Authority Port-of-Savannah.jpg
A group of maritime organisations have agreed to carry out a feasibility study on ammonia bunkering at the Port of Savannah.

ABS, Maersk, the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Fleet Management Limited, Georgia Ports Authority, Savage Services, Sumitomo Corporation and TOTE Services announced a Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a joint feasibility study on ammonia as a marine fuel.

The study aims to cover the entire end-to-end supply chain of ammonia bunkering, which includes the development of a cost-effective green ammonia supply chain, the design of an Ammonia Bunkering Articulated Tug-Barge (AB-ATB), as well as related supply chain infrastructure.

Through the study, the MoU partners aim to become pioneers in establishing such a supply chain to enable ship-to-ship green ammonia bunkering on the US East Coast.

Government agencies will be involved in the process to ensure standardisation of operations and regulations in the critical area of safety in ammonia bunkering operations.

ABS will conduct the operation risk assessment for ship to ship bunkering operations as well as co-ordinate with the US authorities on guidelines and regulations, with support from Georgia Port Authority and its experience with developing LNG bunkering procedures in the US.

The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping conducts a well-to-wake life cycle analysis of ammonia, supporting the standards for safe use of ammonia. Sumitomo will work on the supply chain for green and blue ammonia, covering sourcing, transportation, storage and bunkering.

Tote will be tasked with developing AB-ATB and bunkering procedures, with Maersk assisting and giving input from the specific view of container vessel operators and Fleet Management Limited giving its input as a ship manager.

Panos Koutsourakis, Vice President, Global Sustainability at American Bureau of Shipping, said: “Ammonia offers shipowners and operators a zero-carbon, tank-to-wake emissions profile. Yet, we also recognize that ammonia presents a specific set of safety and technology challenges. We look forward to engaging with the other project members and sharing our industry-leading experience with ammonia-fueled vessels to support the study.”

Morten Bo Christiansen, Head of Energy Transition at A.P. Moller-Maersk, said “At Maersk, we are committed to net zero by 2040. To achieve this we need huge amounts of green fuel for our ships. For now, green methanol is the only pathway that is certain to have material impact in this decade, and we are happy to see the momentum that is building in the shipping industry on this pathway.

“We see green ammonia as a fuel with potential in the long term for commercial shipping. However, safety and environmental challenges related to ammonia’s toxicity must be addressed in the short term, and we must get a solid understanding of the cost of bunkering ammonia. This study will help our industry better understand the full spectrum of practical and safety considerations when dealing with green ammonia as a fuel.”

Koji Endo, General Manager of Energy Division at Sumitomo Corporation, said “We embark on our ambition to build the first Ship-to-Ship ammonia bunkering base in the US in addition to Singapore and Oman, which highlight our commitment to offer our customers the best available and technologically proven solution to reduce the emission footprint from maritime transport”.

Claus Winter Graugaard, Chief Technology Officer at Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, said “Enabling sustainable and scalable alternative fuel pathways is critically important for building confidence and investment appetite in fuel supply chains. At the Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, we are leading multiparty scientific projects and risk management activities on how ammonia can be qualified as a sustainable and safe energy carrier for worldwide marine fuel deployment. The Port of Savannah project is a great logistical entry point for qualifying how ammonia could be made available. Furthermore, it provides a local and regional use case for commercial activation in the US East Coast.”