Singapore joins ammonia-fueled tanker project

Decarbonization remains a key priority for the maritime sector.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has joined the ammonia-fueled tanker Joint Development Project (JDP), which aimed to develop ammonia propulsion ships to support the maritime industry’s drive to decarbonization.

MPA Chief Executive, Quah Ley Hoon, said: “Decarbonization remains a key priority for the maritime sector, not just in Singapore but globally. As a transshipment and bunkering hub, we are committed to meet IMO2030/2050 decarbonization goals.

“We are also looking forward to collaborating with like-minded industry partners to support the development and trials of alternative future marine fuels such as ammonia.”

Other partners included MISC Berhad, Lloyd’s Register, Samsung Heavy Industries and MAN Energy Solutions, and Yara International ASA.  The expanded coalition has announced a new name The Castor Initiative. 

The consortium will be able to tap onto MPA’s experience as a bunkering hub and flag state to gather insights on safety issues and ammonia bunkering procedures, and gain access to research capabilities in Singapore.

The addition of MPA and Yara, which joined the same time as MPA, means that the alliance which was first unveiled in January 2020, now has a complete representation from all areas of the maritime ecosystem. The experience and expertise of each partner will be central to the success of the initiative, from conception to project realization.

This announcement follows a key project milestone in September 2020 when Lloyd’s Register awarded Approval in Principle to Samsung for its ammonia-fueled tanker design with the aim of commercializing these developments by 2024. 

To meet the IMO’s 2050 ambitions on halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2008 levels, zero-carbon vessels need to enter the world fleet by 2030. The JDP was motivated by the partners’ shared belief that the maritime industry needs leadership and greater collaboration if shipping is to meet the IMO’s GHG ambitions.

While ammonia is one of the fuels being considered by maritime stakeholders, the partners also recognize that the shipping industry will need to explore multiple decarbonization pathways and hope their collaboration will spur others in the maritime industry to join forces on addressing this global challenge.

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