Sumitomo, Oshima to develop ammonia-fueled bulk carrier

Japanese general trading company Sumitomo Corporation revealed plans to launch a full-scale project to design and develop an ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier jointly with compatriot shipbuilder Oshima Shipbuilding.

A dry bulk carrier of equivalent size to that of the carrier to be built. Image Courtesy: Sumitomo

As informed, the duo will work on the design and development of an ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier with the aim of completing the ship in 2025.

Specifically, Sumitomo Corporation will design and develop the bulk carrier, improve the navigation environment, and ensure the supply of ammonia as fuel, in cooperation with Oshima Shipbuilding and other external partners as well as with the involvement of the internal cross-organizational project team for ammonia, which was launched within Sumitomo Corporation this July.

With a length overall of 229 meters and a beam of 32.26 meters, the ship will have a deadweight tonnage of 80,000–81,000 MT.

A dry bulk carrier of equivalent size to that of the carrier to be built. Image Courtesy: Sumitomo

After the completion of the bulk carrier, Sumitomo Corporation will own and operate it, thereby helping users of the ship’s transportation service to reduce their GHG emissions across their supply chains.

Since this March, jointly with external partners, Sumitomo Corporation has been examining the launch of an ammonia supply business to fuel ships in Singapore. In addition to building an ammonia supply chain, the company is making adjustments with the Singaporean government for the formulation of operation guidelines and the establishment of the necessary regulations.

Sumitomo Corporation is implementing initiatives for the entire ammonia supply chain of the maritime industry, such as developing the ammonia-fueled ship and making ammonia fuel available at ports, thereby contributing to the decarbonization of the industry. The company also wants to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 as the long-term target for the mitigation of climate change and to create a sustainable energy cycle.

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In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. In this strategy, the IMO upholds the target of improving the average fuel efficiency of ships used for international shipping by 40% relative to the 2008 level by 2030, and of halving the total GHG emissions from the ships by 2050.

In response, companies in the maritime industry are required to replace the fuels for their ships with ammonia, hydrogen and other substitutes with low environmental impact, and to introduce the equipment that will help them reduce their GHG emissions.

As ammonia can be liquefied more easily than hydrogen, the substance is attracting much attention as a substitute fuel for ocean-going ships that navigate a long distance at one time.