NYK Line, partners to develop ammonia floating storage and regasification barge

Japanese shipping major NYK Line has teamed up with compatriot Nihon Shipyard, ClassNK, and IHI Corporation (IHI) on a research and development project aimed at commercialising an ammonia floating storage and regasification barge (A-FSRB).

Specifically, the parties will work on the R&D of the world’s first barge equipped with a floating storage and regasification facility for ammonia.

The move builds upon an agreement made in August 2020, when NYK Line, Japan Marine United Corporation (which has a 49% share of NSY), and ClassNK started joint R&D of an A-FSRB.

“However, since the demand for fuel ammonia is expected to increase further in the future, the three parties have concluded a new joint R&D agreement with IHI, an ammonia-related equipment manufacturer,” NYK Line said.

Under the R&D agreement, NYK Line will be in charge of the project management, the decision on the base design, legal compliance, and economic valuation of the project while Nihon Shipyard will design the vessel’s hull, and conduct an equipment layout study. IHI engineering company will provide insights and know-how on discharging of ammonia and the vaporization process, as well as the necessary utility equipment. Finally, ClassNK will develop guidelines and conduct a technical verification of safety of the vessel and its operation.

Last June, IHI, together with its partners INPEC and MOL, revealed the results of a demonstration of a clean ammonia supply chain linking the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Japan.

The clean ammonia used for the demonstration was supplied by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). It was produced by Fertiglobe, a joint venture between ADNOC and OCI.N.V. that is a key supplier of ammonia, using natural gas produced in Abu Dhabi. Most of the CO₂ emitted from the production of the ammonia was sequestered and injected into Abu Dhabi onshore oil fields in which INPEX has a participating interest, making it clean ammonia.

INPEX oversaw the entire process in close partnership with ADNOC. MOL transported the clean ammonia to Japan in an ISO tank container with the support of Nippon Concept Corporation, in which the company holds shares. IHI utilized clean ammonia to conduct a combustion experiment using an ammonia combustion turbine that is under development.

2,000-kilowatt-class gas turbine “IM270” at IHI Yokohama Works

Namely, IHI is pioneering a combustion method for ammonia that involves liquid ammonia being directly sprayed into the gas turbine combustor in a 2,000-kilowatt-class gas turbine.

In Japan, technological development is underway for ammonia fuel mixed combustion power generation at coal-fired power plants as an innovative next-generation thermal power generation technology that contributes to the reduction of COemissions. However, when using ammonia in existing thermal power plants, there are issues related to securing land for new onshore facilities including storage tanks and regasification facilities, and the large initial investment cost.

A-FSRB; Source: NYK-Line

An A-FSRB is an offshore floating facility that can receive and store ammonia that has been transported via ship as a liquid, warm and regasify ammonia according to demand, and then send it to a pipeline onshore.

The barge offers the advantages of shorter construction time and lower costs in comparison to the construction of onshore storage tanks and regasification plants. In fact, NYK believes that the A-FSRB would speed up the adoption of ammonia fuel and contribute to its wider use as a lower-environmental-impact next-generation fuel.

NYK Line has also been very active in projects developing ammonia as the next-generation fuel for shipping.

The shipping company is pushing forward with plans to convert its LNG-fueled tugboat Sakigake to operate on ammonia fuel. The tugboat, operated in Tokyo Bay by NYK Group company Shin-Nippon Kaiyosha Corporation, is scheduled to be converted by 2024. The fuel modification contract has been signed with Keihin Dock Co., an NYK Group company.

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NYK Line is also working with Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems, and Nihon Shipyard on a demonstration project for the commercialization of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fueled engine as part of the Green Innovation Fund.

The goal is to realize the development of an ammonia-fueled vessel that is internationally competitive ahead of other countries and to lead the development of safety guidelines and laws and regulations related to ammonia-fueled vessels.

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