TotalEnergies joins shipping industry majors to spur development of ammonia-powered tankers

Global energy major TotalEnergies has joined the Castor Initiative, a multinational coalition committed to making zero-emission shipping a reality, to support the uptake of ammonia as a green fuel and the development of ammonia-powered tankers.

The global coalition, which includes MISC Berhad (MISC), Lloyd’s Register (LR), Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), MAN Energy Solutions (MAN), the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Yara Clean Ammonia (Yara) and Jurong Port, was established in January 2020 and its most recent project milestone was the April 2022 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a pair of zero-emission tankers.

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With TotalEnergies as the Castor Initiative’s latest partner, the multinational coalition has added to its diverse circle of maritime expertise to ensure and support the complete ecosystem required for ammonia-fuelled tankers.

“Among various decarbonized marine fuel alternatives, Ammonia could rapidly become a viable solution in the maritime sector while challenges remain to be addressed, in particular on the safety aspects. We are therefore enthusiastic to join the Castor initiative, one of the most comprehensive and ambitious project dealing with ammonia as a fuel today,” Jérôme Cousin, Senior Vice President Shipping, TotalEnergies said.

“Efforts to decarbonise the maritime sector are forging ahead and collaboration among the Castor Initiative partners on ammonia-fuelled tonnage continues apace. We are delighted that TotalEnergies has joined our development project as its considerable industry experience and expertise will help to accelerate the partnerships’ goal of delivering safe zero-emission shipping in the middle of this decade,” LR Chief Executive Officer Nick Brown highlighted.

“The clock is ticking for the decarbonization of the maritime sector. Within the Castor Initiative all partners in the value chain have made a significant commitment towards decarbonization and have been collaborating actively to achieve that goal,” Murali Srinivasan, SVP and Commercial Head of Yara Clean Ammonia stated.

“We are excited to welcome TotalEnergies to the initiative and look forward to jointly advancing ammonia as a credible and safe zero-carbon maritime fuel. TotalEnergies entering the existing partnership will create an acceleration of the consortium’s efforts toward the common goal of delivering zero-emission deep sea tankers in the near future.

To meet the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2050 ambitions of halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2008 levels, zero-carbon vessels need to enter the world fleet by 2030.

According to the partners, this Joint Development Project has been motivated by the shared belief that the maritime industry needs leadership and greater collaboration if shipping is to meet the IMO’s GHG ambitions.

While ammonia is one of the fuels being considered by maritime stakeholders, the partners also recognise that the shipping industry will need to explore multiple decarbonisation pathways and hope their collaboration will spur others in the maritime industry to work collectively on addressing this global challenge.

According to Clarkson’s recent research, in 2021 31.5% of newbuild tonnage ordered was capable of running on alternative fuels (479 units), up from 211 orders in 2020 and 46 orders in 2016. Out of that, there are currently 130 “ammonia ready” vessels in the orderbook.

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