Viridis Bulk Carriers gets DNV’s green light for ammonia-fuelled short sea bulker

Shipping startup Viridis Bulk Carriers has won Approval in Principle (AiP) for its ammonia-fuelled short sea bulk carrier design from the DNV classification society.

Image credit: Viridis Bulk Carriers

The certificate was presented during the Nor-Shipping trade fair at the DNV stand.

The Viridis Bulk Carriers design, developed by Kongsberg Maritime, is for 5,000 dwt short seas vessels that offer a range (3,000 nm) and safety levels equivalent to conventionally fuelled vessels.

An Approval in Principle (AiP) is an independent assessment of a concept within an agreed framework, confirming that the design is feasible, and no significant obstacles exist to prevent the concept from being realized.

“We are delighted with yet another milestone for our ammonia-powered short sea bulk vessel,” says André Risholm, Board Member of Viridis Bulk Carriers.

“During the AiP process we have had a good constructive process and excellent co-operation with DNV. This is a clear testament to the hard work completed and is important for moving closer to the newbuilding phase. Considering the heightened emission reduction targets set by the EU and IMO, our Viridis vessels will fully adhere to these standards. This will empower charterers to benefit from exceptional greenhouse gas reductions throughout their logistical value chain.”

“DNV introduced the Gas Fuelled Ammonia notation to enable the industry to foster innovation and drive sustainable solutions in line with the most advanced industry standards,” Tuva Flagstad-Andersen, Regional Manager of Region North Europe at DNV.

“This is essential to wider adoption, because building trust is vital as we look to develop the next generation of fuels. With these projects, we demonstrate how by working in collaboration, we can shape the future of shipping and advance towards a decarbonized and sustainable tomorrow.” 

For the AiP, DNV has reviewed the design of the vessel for compliance with the 2023 revision of the rules for the DNV Gas Fuelled Ammonia class notation as found in Pt.6 CH.2 Sec.14. The 2023 revision will be published on July 1st, 2023 and enter into force on January 1st, 2024.  

This is the second AiP for the vessel design, as the company has already secured a nod from Bureau Veritas for the short-seal bulk vessel in March.

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The approvals are an important step for Viridis toward being able to order the first series of vessels, which is expected to place orders for ships during 2023, with deliveries starting in 2025.

The company has brought eight companies on board its journey, with the most recent one being Stema Shipping to collaborate on the ammonia-powered short-sea shipping project “FlexBulk – NH3 Power”.

Stema joins other 7 cargo owners Elkem, Vestkorn, Yara, BioMar, Franzefoss Minerals, Viken AT Market and Saltimport. The project’s goal is to reduce the cost impact of using carbon-free ammonia fuel, which may initially be more expensive than fuels used today.

The consortium has secured NOK 13.75 million ($1.5 million) in development funding from the Norwegian Pilot-E program.