RINA partners with Gas and Heat on ammonia-fuelled bunker vessel

Italian classification society RINA has teamed up with Gas and Heat, a compatriot company specializing in the design and construction of cargo handling systems, on the development of a cargo and fuel gas system for an ammonia-fuelled bunker vessel.

Illustration; Image credit: RINA

Within this agreement, Gas and Heat will develop the basic design of the system and RINA will carry out the compliance assessment of the design as part of the wider Approval in Principle process.

“RINA and Gas and Heat are both driven by innovation and have a long history of cooperation on unique projects. The agreement represents a further step in this direction, allowing the integration of know-how and the delivery to the shipping industry of those technical insights and solutions that are much needed in this time of change. We do believe that a fleet of innovative bunker vessels, as part of the sea logistics, will boost the use of alternative fuels,” Giuseppe Zagaria, Marine Italy Technical Director at RINA, said.

“We are excited to announce the collaboration with RINA on this cargo and fuel system for a bunker vessel project. By applying our know-how in cryogenic gas transportation, we could deliver turnkey systems for the ammonia bunkering market,” says Claudio Evangelisti, CEO, Gas and Heat Italy.

The cooperation is being announced as the shipping industry works on tackling its global GHG emissions footprint of approximately 3%, prompted by an ever-stricter regulative landscape.

Ammonia has great potential to play a very important role in the medium term. The ammonia combustion process has been extensively researched by the leading engine manufacturers and the delivery of ammonia-fueled engines to shipbuilding is likely to happen within this year.

MAN Energy Solutions is on track to deliver its ammonia-powered engine to the market this year.

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That being said, as the world looks at developing vessels powered by ammonia there are numerous safety concerns surrounding ammonia bunkering and the design of ammonia-bunkering vessels.

The challenge lies in the unique characteristics of ammonia: its low energy density demands larger quantities to be bunkered, and its high toxicity necessitates special safety measures.

Nevertheless, engineers are looking at practical solutions to keep the dangers at bay such as different ventilation arrangements, main vent masts as well as purging equipment. 

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RINA has already worked on several projects and approvals of vessels powered by ammonia, including a bunker tanker developed by Fratelli Cosulich Bunkers Singapore and SeaTech Solutions, as well as ammonia-fueled oil/chemical tanker developed by Shanghai Shipyard.

What is more, the classification society has joined forces with the Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute (SDARI) to develop a ship design capable of being fuelled by either ammonia or methanol.