Getting to Zero Coalition: Major increase in uptake of large ammonia vessels

Ammonia-fuelled ammonia gas carrier
Ammonia-fuelled ammonia gas carrier; Image Courtesy: NYK

There has been a notable increase in the uptake of large ammonia vessels over the past year, according to Getting to Zero Coalition’s latest edition of zero-emission project mapping.

Ammonia-fuelled ammonia gas carrier; Image Courtesy: NYK

The number of identified projects has jumped from 66 to 106, the coalition’s second edition of the biannual Mapping of Zero Emission Pilots and Demonstration Projects shows.

The projects range from ship technologies, fuel production to bunkering and recharging facilities.

Ten large ammonia demonstration projects have been launched, bringing the total to 14. The market is also witnessing some of the first orders for these ammonia vessels being placed.

One of such orders placed earlier this year saw Greek shipowner Avin International LTD hire the Chinese shipbuilder New Times Shipbuilding Co. to build the first ammonia-fuel-ready vessel in the world.

 The landmark 274-meter-long ammonia-ready vessel is now under construction and the company has options for two further vessels.

The mapping also saw an increase with methanol/ethanol projects, with some large methanol tanker vessels now being built to run on methanol in addition to transporting it.

For small ship projects, there is a continuing trend towards exploring hydrogen and battery power or a combination of the two.

Comparing projects launched pre-2020 to post-2020 there has been a slight reduction in the share of projects focusing on battery power, biofuels, and wind propulsion, the overview shows.

For fuel production projects, the mapping shows a preference towards Power-to-X fuel production with hydrogen as an input.

Most projects in the mapping, 71, have a significant connection to Europe. However, the report also indicates that the geographical spread of the mapping has become more representative, with the number of Asian projects almost doubling from 16 in the first edition to 31 now.

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Of the 106 projects in the mapping, just over half, 54, are known to receive some amount of direct public funding. The majority of this funding originates in Europe. The largest awards of public funding in the mapping continue to go to large scale fuel production projects.

“We see an increased specialization in small and large ship technology projects. There is an uptake in hydrogen based ship technology projects, but particularly in ammonia projects. For fuel production projects, we see a continued trend towards hydrogen based Power-to-X fuel production,” says Jesse Fahnestock, Project Director at the Global Maritime Forum.

 “In the last 6 months, around 10% of the projects have increased in size or ambition or moved from the concept study stage to the demonstration stage. This shows a tangible move towards raising ambition and scaling up existing projects.”