ABS, partners launch study on potential of ammonia as marine fuel in Singapore

Americal classification society ABS, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, and the Ammonia Safety and Training Institute (ASTI) have joined forces on a study of the potential of ammonia as a marine fuel for Singapore.

Illustration; Image by Offshore Energy

Titled Ammonia as a Marine Fuel in Singapore – Supply Chain, Bunker Safety, and Potential Issues, the joint study will look at safety protocols and possible gaps in the supply chain of ammonia as a marine fuel, specifically bunkering for marine vessels. It will explore supply, bunkering, and safety challenges with the fuel. 

ExxonMobil, Hoegh LNG, MAN Energy Solutions Singapore, Jurong Port, PSA Singapore and ITOCHU Group with their partners, are initial project partners, contributing technical information about marine fuel handling, vessel to vessel transfer and bunkering in the Port of Singapore.

 “Ammonia is a fuel with significant potential for marine applications and ABS is leading the way in understanding challenges in the safe design and operation of ammonia-fueled vessels. It is also clear that Singapore has the potential to play a critical role as a strategic downstream location to receive, store, consume or bunker ammonia,” said Panos Koutsourakis, ABS Director of Sustainability Strategy.

Professor Jasmine Lam Siu Lee, Director, Maritime Energy & Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence, NTU Singapore, explained that the study was in line with NTU Singapore’s Maritime Energy & Sustainable Development (MESD) Centre of Excellence’s focus on alternative fuel research for the maritime industry, and ammonia as a key potential marine fuel. She added that the research effort is in tune with Singapore’s long-term maritime decarbonization strategy, contributing to a more sustainable Maritime Singapore.

In order to remain the world’s top bunkering hub, the Port of Singapore is looking beyond liquefied natural gas (LNG), toward other zero or low carbon fuel types.

MPA is already working with the industry and academia to develop technologies and pilot the use of alternative marine fuels, such as methanol and biofuels, and electric vessels, through its S$40 million Maritime Green Future Fund.

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“We view this study as closely aligned with our own strategy of cooperating with external partners to develop sustainable technologies and believe ammonia to be a very interesting candidate as a zero-carbon fuel. A suitable engine technology is, of course, key and MAN Energy Solutions already has a convincing track-record in developing engines running on alternative fuels. Indeed, we aim to deliver the first ammonia-fueled, two-stroke engine in 2024. We look forward to adding our expertise to this study to the benefit of Singapore, which is such a vital shipping hub,” Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President and Head of R&D, Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions, said.