WinGD KSS Line

WinGD, KSS Line forge alliance on ammonia-powered future

Swiss marine power company WinGD has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korean shipowner KSS Line to explore X-DF-A dual-fuel ammonia engines for future newbuilds.

Image credit: WinGD

WinGD is due to begin validation of its ammonia-fuelled engine concept on single and multi-cylinder test engines, in Winterthur and Shanghai, later this year.

The validation tests follow combustion concept testing that began in 2021, in concert with simulation and rig tests to understand the emissions characteristics and injection requirements of ammonia fuel.

The X-DF-A engine, like its methanol-fuelled counterpart X-DF-M, will operate on a high-pressure Diesel-cycle combustion process, with liquid ammonia fuel injection supported with a low portion of pilot fuel.

The company aims to have its first ammonia-powered engine ready by the first quarter of 2025. The estimation is backed by recent rapid progress in developing an engine concept capable of using zero-carbon fuel efficiently, WinGD said. The first X-DF-A powered vessels are slated to be in service from 2026. 

Under the latest cooperation deal, WinGD and KSS will focus on 52cm- and 62cm-bore versions of the dual-fuel ammonia engines, suitable for midsize and very large gas carriers (VLGC).

The companies will also study the performance and maintenance solutions necessary for using alternative fuel and explore how deep insights into the engine performance can be provided through the deployment of WinGD’s Integrated Digital Expert (WiDE), enabling fuel efficiency fine tuning and live 24×7 support from engine experts.

The agreement also includes a commitment from WinGD to deliver crew training for new engines.

The agreement is the latest of several collaborations under which WinGD is working with experts from across key shipbuilding locations and vessel segments to develop its ammonia capabilities, including SHI and AET Tankers.

The company is building significant experience in equipping crew for safe and reliable ammonia-fuelled engine operations, having agreed in June to develop and support the implementation of a training syllabus for AET Tankers and maritime academy Akademi Laut Malaysia.

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“Ammonia as fuel is an interesting prospect for gas carrier vessels that already carry ammonia as cargo. The combination of our rigorously tested new engine design, training support and real-time optimisation via WiDE will mean that KSS Line can be confident that early experience with ammonia-fuelled vessels will be translated into safe and reliable operation in the long-term,” Volkmar Galke, Director Sales, WinGD said.

“KSS Line aims to decarbonise its fleet rapidly and has already made significant investments in smart ships, LPG-fuelled and methanol-fuelled technology. Exploring ammonia as a fuel is the next step. The project with WinGD gives us the technical support we will need to successfully apply this new fuel type to our forthcoming newbuilds,” Chando Park, CEO, KSS Line said.