Image: NYK Line

NYK Line, Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd., and Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd. announced that Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has approved their participation in a demonstration project for the commercialization of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fueled engine as part of the Green Innovation Fund project.

The demonstration project, which is scheduled to begin in December with the addition of ClassNK to the Companies, aims to use ammonia as a fuel to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during voyages and thus to introduce an ammonia-fueled vessel earlier than 2030 for the benefit of society. The Companies will eventually work toward zero emissions from ships.

The Companies and ClassNK’s primary objectives are to build an ammonia-fueled vessel that is internationally competitive and to pioneer the establishment of ammonia-fueled vessel safety norms, as well as laws and regulations. To accomplish these objectives, marine engine manufacturers, shipyards, class societies, and shipping firms in Japan will collaborate continuously from research and development through engine development, shipbuilding, and commercialization.

With the Paris Agreement’s coming into force in 2016, the global push for decarbonization has accelerated. The Japanese government has stated that it would bring total GHG emissions to zero by 2050 and strive for carbon neutrality, and the energy transition toward a carbon-free society is quickening.

Reduced GHG emissions are also a priority for the shipping industry, and research and development efforts are underway to convert marine fuel from conventional heavy fuel oil to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and to promote next-generation zero-emission fuels like as hydrogen and ammonia.

Because ammonia emits no carbon dioxide (CO2) during combustion, it is predicted to be a next-generation fuel that contributes to global warming mitigation efforts. Additionally, it is stated that by utilizing CO2-free hydrogen as the raw material for ammonia, it is conceivable to achieve zero emissions over the course of the fuel’s life.

In light of this, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry launched the Green Innovation Fund project in 2015 with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and NEDO has now approved the Companies’ development of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fueled engine as part of the Green Innovation Fund project.

The NEDO has approved these demonstration projects, which include the creation and operation of an ammonia-fueled tugboat and an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier.

Because the ammonia fuel contains a flame retardant that makes it difficult to ignite, this project assumes the use of a small amount of fuel oil as pilot fuel. The firms intend to reduce GHG emissions by reaching an ammonia fuel mixed combustion rate of at least 80% by the time A-Tug is delivered in FY2024.

The companies will demonstrate safe operation in demonstrations aiming at increasing the mixed combustion rate with the goal of eventually reaching zero GHG emissions through the use of biofuel as a pilot fuel.

The Companies intend to construct and operate an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier (AFAGC) using the concept of delivering ammonia as cargo and fueling the ship with the cargo and ammonia gas evaporated from the cargo.

The Companies intend to reduce GHG emissions by reaching a maximum ammonia fuel mixed combustion rate of 95 percent for the ship’s main engine and 80 percent or higher for the auxiliary engine that powers the generator.

Nedim Husomanovic

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