Höegh Autoliners and Sumitomo Corporation forge alliance on ammonia bunkering in Singapore and Jacksonville ports

Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation and Norwegian RoRo shipping company  Höegh Autoliners have joined forces to explore the adoption of clean ammonia as a bunker fuel for Ro-Ro cargo vessels. The agreement targets ports in Singapore and Jacksonville, USA, with plans set to kick in from 2027.

Image credit: Höegh Autoliners

The duo signed a Letter of Intent to collaborate on the supply and delivery of clean ammonia as the next-generation sustainable maritime fuel for Höegh Autoliners’ Aurora Class PCTC vessels.

Designed to accommodate up to 9,100 cars, the Aurora class vessels will have the ability to operate on zero-carbon ammonia or carbon-neutral methanol. With the recently lifted options, the company has twelve multi-fuel and net zero carbon-ready Aurora class vessels on order.

The first two ships from the series are expected to be delivered in H2 of 2024.

Meanwhile, Sumitomo Corporation supplies various types of clean ammonia to its customers in compliance with requirements on carbon intensity from auto-manufacturers, including “green ammonia” produced from renewable energy, “blue ammonia” with the CO2 from the production processes captured and permanently stored and “bio ammonia” produced from renewable natural gas. The solutions are certified by International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) in accordance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

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Moving ahead, Höegh Autoliners and Sumitomo Corporation plan to conduct a thorough assessment of compatibility between the PCTC vessels and ammonia bunkering facilities at designated ports. The aim is to refine specifications for both “shore-to-ship” and “ship-to-ship” bunkering operations, conduct safety assessments, and establish standardized operational protocols and regulations in collaboration with relevant government agencies.

“The commitment with Sumitomo Corporation is a strong strategic move in our efforts to offer our customers net-zero transportation globally, addressing the need for sustainable fuel availability in key ports such as Singapore and Jacksonville. Pioneering net-zero transportation on ammonia-powered vessels places us at the forefront of the international shipping industry, and we take pride in collaborating with Sumitomo Corporation to achieve this significant milestone,” says Andreas Enger, CEO of Höegh Autoliners.

“While the adoption of electric vehicles is important for greening land transportation systems worldwide, it is equally important to address the decarbonization of the maritime transportation process used to deliver these vehicles from the production facilities to their destinations. In this context, Sumitomo Corporation supports Höegh Autoliners by exploring the potential to provide clean ammonia as a bunker fuel for their modern vessels at strategic port locations,” says Koji Endo, General Manager of Energy Division, Sumitomo Corporation.

Image credit: Höegh Autoliners

Sumitomo Corporation has received Approval in Principle (AiP) from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for the design of an ammonia bunkering vessel jointly with partners of a consortium, consisting of A.P. Moller – Maersk A/S, Fleet Management Limited, the Center, Sumitomo Corporation, Seatrium, ABS, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

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The Japanese energy major has also expressed strong interest in developing an end-to-end low or zero-carbon ammonia power generation and bunkering solution in Singapore for the country’s Energy Market Authority and MPA.

In addition, Sumitomo has been developing a comprehensive and competitive supply chain for the provision of ammonia ship-to-ship bunkering on the US East Coast including port of Jacksonville and Brunswick, the busiest auto ports in the country.