NYK kicks off conversion of LNG-powered tug to ammonia fuel

Japanese shipping company NYK has started the conversion of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueled tugboat Sakigake to an ammonia-fueled tugboat at Oppama factory of Keihin Dock Co.


As explained, this modification involves the development of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fueled engine through an effort that was initiated in October 2021 by NYK, Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems Co., and Nihon Shipyard Co. The project is part of the Green Innovation Fund Project of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

In order to significantly accelerate current initiatives such as structural transformation of the energy and industrial sectors and innovation through bold investment towards carbon neutrality by 2050, a 2 trillion fund has been created at NEDO to provide continuous support to companies.

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 about 300 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2), according to NYK.

The tug conducted its final LNG bunkering operation in July this year.

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A-tug is scheduled for delivery in June 2024.

The vessel will continue to be operated by Shin-Nihon Kaiyosha to verify its decarbonization effect and operational safety as the world’s first ammonia-fueled vessel.