Trafigura aims for six zero-emission ships by 2030

Global commodity trading giant Trafigura has set an ambitious target of having at least six zero-emission green ammonia-fuelled vessels in its fleet by 2030 to achieve a 25% reduction in the GHG intensity of its shipping operations.

Illustration; Minerva Oceana; Image credit: Trafigura

Trafigura, one of the world’s largest charterers of vessels, is responsible for over 5,000 voyages annually, managing 30 owned vessels, and overseeing nearly 360 ships.

Therefore these six ships would represent approximately 18 percent of Trafigura’s currently owned fleet.

The objective relies heavily on the technical feasibility of the implementation of ammonia combustion engines in the maritime industry.

The company is co-sponsoring the development of ammonia marine engines in collaboration with MAN Energy Solutions.

MAN ES aims to have a commercially available two-stroke ammonia engine by as early as 2024, followed by a retrofit package for the gradual rebuild of existing maritime vessels by 2025.

Related Articles

Potential of ammonia

Ammonia has emerged as a compelling prospect in the pursuit of decarbonizing the shipping industry. This is due to its unique characteristics and potential as a zero-emission fuel. When used as a fuel, ammonia only emits nitrogen and water during combustion, eliminating carbon dioxide emissions at the point of use.

Furthermore, its combustion characteristics align well with existing marine engine technologies. This allows for relatively straightforward integration into current vessel designs.

However, the ‘relatively straightforward’ part is yet to be overcome as various marine engine makers, MAN ES, WinGD, and Wartsila, are working on developing the world’s first ammonia-combustion marine engine.

Some of the key challenges that need to be addressed are the toxicity of ammonia as well as its low density when compared to fossil fuels. Safety is paramount in terms of the design of the fuel supply system and early detection solutions for potential leaks.

“We believe that ammonia will become an important, low-carbon part of the fuel mix,” Trafigura said in its 2023 Sustainability Report.

Emission reduction progress

The company revealed in the report that it has achieved a 19 percent reduction in GHG Intensity for its shipping operations against the 2019 industry baseline. In addition, it is on track to meet its target of a 25 percent reduction by the end of FY20301.

The goal was achieved in part due to the decrease in traded aluminium relative to less GHG-intensive metals

“Whilst we have made good progress, we recognize that our GHG performance could be subject to short-term volatility due to market forces and uncertainty with upcoming regulations,” the company noted.

The commodity giant also met its initial FY2023 target of reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 GHG emissions by 30% against FY2020 baseline. The achievement supports the ambition to achieve a more than 50% reduction by 2032. The overall objective is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

“In addition to developing carbon solutions and low-carbon energy sources, our approach to climate change is focussed on: decarbonizing commodity supply chains, including reducing our operational (Scope 1 and 2) and value chain (Scope 3) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; working with stakeholders to advance decarbonization; and assessing the physical risks of climate change on our operations in line with the Task Force on ClimateRelated Financial Disclosures,” Jeremy Weir, Executive Chairman and CEO of Trafigura said.

“Over and above efficiency improvements, we remain committed to working with the shipping industry to achieve zero emissions by 2050. This involves working with stakeholders through partnerships such as the Global Maritime Forum, Sea Cargo Charter and First Movers Coalition and advocating for a global price on carbon for marine fuels. First delivery of the green ammonia marine engine technology we have co-sponsored together with MAN Energy Solutions in early 2025 and will mark a key development for the commercial deployment of low-emission vessels.”