HHI gets green light for ammonia-fueled ammonia/LPG carriers design

Classification society ABS has granted approval in principle (AiP) to South Korean shipbuilders Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) for the concept design of two ammonia-fueled liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers.

Courtesy of ABS

The approval was awarded at Gastech, a global gas, LNG, hydrogen, and energy event being held in Milan, for 40,000 cbm and 60,000 cbm capacity carriers which were developed in cooperation with Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore (KSOE).

The AiP marks the completion of phase one of a joint development project (JDP) among ABS, HHI, Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

Now, the second phase will begin with the development of engine specifications.

Ammonia presents a specific set of safety and technology challenges, and ABS is committed to leading the industry in supporting its safe adoption at sea”, said Patrick Ryan, senior vice president of Global Engineering and Technology at ABS.

“These carriers represent a significant step forward in the industry’s desire to realize the emissions reduction potential of ammonia as fuel, and we are proud to use our experience to support it.”

Won Ho Joo, senior executive vice president and chief technical officer of HHI, added that this joint development will be the first step in the commercialisation of ammonia fuel and accelerate decarbonisation in maritime transportation.

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In September 2021, HHI and KSOE received AiP from the classification society Bureau Veritas (BV) for the design and development of an ammonia carrier with ammonia-fueled propulsion.

HHI also teamed up with shipping company Euronav, classification societies Lloyd’s Register and DNV on a  joint development project focused on ammonia-fueled tankers.

Ammonia is one of the main alternative fuel options currently considered by shipping for net-zero operations, in line with the targets set up by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the maritime sector by 2030 and 2050.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) earlier predicted that ammonia will account for around 45% of global energy demand for shipping in 2050.

However, some safety concerns remain to be solved prior to its use in the shipping sector. The major issue with burning ammonia is its high toxicity which doesn’t bode well with the ‘safety first’ concept in the sector.

“When it comes to ammonia we run the risk of over-simplifying certain parts of this. I certainly don’t have the intention of discrediting any fuels that we are talking about, simply because we can’t afford to do so. But, let’s be honest about ammonia: We can’t engineer out the toxicity,” Mark Cameron, Chief Operating Officer of Ardmore Shipping, said while speaking during a panel on alternative fuels landscape as part of CapitalLink’s 2nd Decarbonization in Shipping Forum.