NYK Line’s ammonia-fueled tugboat gets green light from ClassNK

Japanese shipping company NYK Line and power systems provider IHI Power Systems have obtained approval in principle (AiP) from the classification society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) for an ammonia-fueled tugboat.

Courtesy of NYK Line

The vessel, currently being jointly researched and developed, is said to be the world’s first tugboat using ammonia as fuel to receive AiP from Class NK.

By using ammonia as a fuel for ships, it will be possible to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during voyages. Therefore, the companies are proceeding with research and development aiming for early social implementation, NYK Line informed.

In order to receive approval, NYK Line and IPS attempted a design to safely and practically install ammonia fuel-related equipment in a limited space on board by developing an ammonia fuel engine, selecting equipment, and devising the equipment layout in the design.

As a result, the companies have achieved the design of A-Tug, which overcomes the above challenges without changing the size of a conventional tugboat, the partners said.

For the next step, the companies intend to work toward the realization of a demonstration operation at the port of Yokohama in fiscal 2024 through further studies for construction.

To remind, NYK Line, ClassNK and IHI Power Systems signed a joint research and development agreement to put the world’s first ammonia-fueled tugboat into practical use back in 2020.

Recently, the partners signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the City of Yokohama for the acceptance of the A-Tug at the port of Yokohama.

The MoU and the vessel are part of the Green Innovation Fund project within Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for the development of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fueled engine.

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