Japan’s GSC develops ammonia-ready LNG-fueled Panamax bulker

Japan’s Planning and Design Center for Greener Ships (GSC), in cooperation with member shipbuilders, has developed an ammonia-ready LNG-fueled Panamax bulk carrier.

GSC
Courtesy of GSC

On 20 April 2022, the design received approval in principle (AIP) from the classification society ClassNK.

The Panamax bulk carrier is LNG-fueled but ready for ammonia fuel. The 80,400 dwt ship has a length of 228.9 meters and a width of 32.26 meters.

For the short-term aim of lowering CO2 emissions, it will be operated by using LNG fuel.

For the long-term aim toward zero CO2 emissions, there are two scenarios — in the first scenario, the ship is converted to ammonia fueled propulsion systems, in the second scenario, it will keep the systems but will switch its fuel from LNG to liquified carbon-neutral methane.

According to GSC, the ship is developed as a flexible and efficient solution to enduring the unpredictable period of fuel transition.

For LNG-fuel arrangement, the systems will be operated as dual-fuel LNG and HFO, and for ammonia fuel arrangement, they will be operated as dual-fueled NH3 and HFO. Both arrangements can keep the similar endurance and cargo capacity as the current Panamax bulk carrier.

GSC
Courtesy of GSC

This design tries to apply materials and equipment applicable to both LNG and ammonia as much as possible, and also to use a modularized arrangement that makes conversion easier. Both will contribute to minimizing modification costs and shortening non-operation periods.

Ammonia is expected to be used as ship fuel for decarbonization since it does not emit CO2 when burned. Meanwhile, taking adequate safety measures are impartial due to its characteristics of being toxic to humans and corrosive against materials, and ClassNK has worked on development of standards and certification.

In 2021, ClassNK published its “Guidelines for Ships Using Alternative Fuels” to minimize the risks related to ammonia-fueled ships for the ships, crew, and environment by stipulating requirements for installation, controls, and safety devices. ClassNK subsequently issued AIP for the design of an ammonia-fueled Panamax bulker developed by GSC in January 2022.

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