ABS ammonia aip

KOMAC’s ammonia-fueled containership design wins nod from ABS

Korea Maritime Consultants Co., Ltd. (KOMAC) has secured approval in principle (AiP) from the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) for its design of an ammonia-fueled containership. 

Image credit ABS

The 3,600-TEU vessel design aims to address what KOMAC forecasts will be as an increase in the market need for small-scale, ammonia-fueled vessels.

Given the challenging characteristics of ammonia, ABS conducted a comprehensive review and participated in the risk assessment of the ammonia fuel system in the AIP process to address safety and reliability.

“Ammonia offers both significant potential to contribute to shipping’s emissions reduction challenge and significant challenge due to its toxic properties. ABS is leading the industry in developing solutions to this safety challenge and supporting first movers like Komac to take advantage of ammonia’s zero-carbon potential,” said Panos Koutsourakis, ABS Vice President, Global Sustainability.

“KOMAC offers Korea’s best engineering and technology services for shipbuilding. By providing these services to international and domestic small and medium-sized shipyards, we are supporting the revitalization of these important facilities,Lee Sung-Ryong, Head of KOMAC’s think tank, said.

The modularity and flexibility of small-scale vessel operations make them more adaptable to new fuel technologies as they can be more easily retrofitted or designed from scratch to accommodate ammonia-fueled propulsion systems. This agility in adopting new technologies positions small-scale vessels as early adopters of alternative fuels like ammonia.

In addition, small-scale vessels typically operate in areas with stricter emissions regulations, such as coastal regions and environmentally sensitive areas. These vessels often have shorter operating distances and lower energy demands compared to larger ships. Therefore, transitioning to ammonia as a fuel allows them to achieve significant emissions reductions and comply with stringent environmental standards.

Ammonia holds significant importance as a potential fuel for the maritime industry in the context of decarbonization of shipping due to several reasons. Firstly, it is a carbon-free fuel, meaning it does not produce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions when burned.

Secondly, it has a high energy density, which means it can provide sufficient energy for propulsion while occupying relatively less space compared to other alternative fuels. This is crucial for maritime vessels, as limited onboard space requires efficient fuel storage solutions.

Furthermore, ammonia is considered an easily producible fuel. It can be derived from various sources, including renewable energy such as wind, solar, or hydrogen.

Moreover, it can be stored and transported at ambient temperature and pressure, making it more practical for maritime operations. This eliminates the need for complex and costly infrastructure modifications.

Lastly, ammonia can potentially contribute to the circular economy by utilizing waste products or excess renewable energy in its production process. This adds another layer of sustainability to its usage in the maritime industry.