Japanese trio initiates study on supplying ammonia as fuel to ships

Japanese companies JERA, NYK Line, and Resonac have signed an agreement to conduct a joint study on the supply of ammonia as fuel to ships.

Courtesy of NYK Line

Under the agreement, the three companies will join forces to achieve the supply of ammonia fuel to a tugboat with a produced ammonia-fueled engine, A-tug, being researched and developed by NYK Line as a Green Innovation Fund project under Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

The scope of the study will include:

  • Establishment of safe operational methods for supplying fuel ammonia;
  • Development of systems for transporting fuel ammonia to port areas and receiving it there; and
  • Engagement with related organizations to formulate rules regarding the supply of marine fuel ammonia.

“We believe this first-in-the-world initiative to supply fuel to a ship equipped with an ammonia-fueled engine will, through the joint study, make a significant contribution to the promotion and adoption of fuel ammonia in the shipping sector,” JERA stated. 

NYK Line added that currently there are no examples of bunkering ammonia as marine fuel for ships equipped with ammonia-fueled engines, and this joint study is expected to promote the use of ammonia as marine fuel in the shipping sector.

The shipping company started the conversion of the LNG-fueled tugboat to an ammonia-fueled tugboat at Oppama factory of Keihin Dock Co. in October this year.

To replace the entire engine, including the main engine and fuel tank, the engine room will be cut to remove the existing LNG-fueled equipment and install the new ammonia-fueled machinery.

The new engine has been tested at IHI Power Systems’ Ota Plant (Gunma Prefecture) to confirm virtually zero emissions from the unburned ammonia and the nitrous oxide (N2O), which has a greenhouse effect of about 300 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2), according to NYK.

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