Japanese firms to supply ammonia fuel to oceangoing vessels

NYK Line, Japan Marine United Corporation, and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) in early Aug signed a joint R&D agreement for the commercialization of an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier (AFAGC) that would use ammonia as the main fuel, in addition to an ammonia floating storage and regasification barge (A-FSRB).

Large-scale marine transportation of ammonia is currently carried out by multi-purpose LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) vessels. In this project, the companies will engage in the R&D of a liquefied ammonia gas carrier. It is expected that the use of ammonia, which is the cargo, as a marine fuel will contribute to the early realization of zero emissions for oceangoing vessels.

The companies will also engage in the R&D of a barge that is equipped with a floating storage and regasification facility exclusively for ammonia for the first time in the world. This project is expected to contribute to the early introduction of ammonia fuel by utilizing the barge as an alternative to land facilities (storage tanks, regasification facilities, etc.) for the stable supply of ammonia fuel.

This joint R&D aims not only to utilize ammonia as a marine fuel but also to establish methods for the mass transportation and supply of ammonia and to become a solution for introducing a mixed combustion of ammonia into coal-fired power stations operated by Japanese electric power companies.

Ammonia is expected to be used as an alternative fuel for vessels. As demand for ammonia fuel is foreseen to expand, the need for a transportation infrastructure for stable supply is expected to increase. Thus, the companies have decided to start this joint R&D of AFAGC and A-FSRB.

As a result, the R&D is expected to contribute significantly to the decarbonization of not only the maritime industry but also the energy industry.

Parties in Japan have succeeded in generating electricity through the use of a gas turbine with 100% ammonia. In addition, innovative next-generation thermal-power-generation technologies that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions are being developed. These technologies are aimed at generating electricity by co-firing ammonia at coal-fired power stations.

Since CO2 is not emitted when ammonia is burned, it has promise as a next-generation fuel that could mitigate shipping’s impact on global warming. In addition, zero emissions can be realized by utilizing CO2-free hydrogen as a raw material for ammonia. In particular, a significant reduction in CO2 emissions is expected to be achieved by replacing coal and natural gas as the main fuels for power generation.

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