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Maritime actors push on with overcoming ammonia fuel safety concerns

Two recent reports (one from Bureau Veritas & Total, the other from the Together in Safety consortium) illustrate just how seriously the maritime industry is pursuing low carbon ammonia fuel. While progress in the maritime ammonia space is impressive, safety risks are widely-acknowledged and work remains to be done.

Both reports identify key hazards facing adoption of ammonia as a maritime fuel, and echo points heard before in the development of methanol & LNG as maritime fuels: high-risk hazards currently exist that must be eliminated, mitigated or controlled. But Together in Safety concludes the way forward will be via collaboration & shared responsibility - something we’re already seeing in the multiple high-profile safety studies and consortia working around the globe. Thankfully, the willingness of significant maritime players to engage on ammonia and the momentum for change are both high.

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Closing the Gap for Zero-Emission Fuels

In January 2022, UMAS and the Getting To Zero Coalition (GtZC) released a report with policy options for closing the competitiveness gap between conventional & future maritime fuels. Such measures will be necessary to enable an equitable transition to zero-emissions shipping. So how might these potential policy routes may impact and enable the scaling of maritime ammonia?

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Huge potential for green maritime fuels in Mexico

A new study from EDF and Ricardo outlines the potential for Mexico to produce, consume and export hydrogen-based fuels like ammonia. Mexico is already positioned on some of the world's busiest shipping routes and has a potentially huge surplus of green power by 2030, presenting a unique opportunity.

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The Ammonia Wrap: OCI to charter ammonia-fueled vessels, Japanese CCGT units await ammonia, more green ammonia for Chile, new South Korea and Uruguay updates

Welcome to the Ammonia Wrap: a summary of all the latest announcements, news items and publications about ammonia energy. This week: OCI to charter ammonia-fueled vessels, new carbon-free maritime fuels forecast, Hokkaido Electric postpones CCGT deployment, awaits ammonia, more green ammonia for Chile, Net-zero Teesside to include CF Industries ammonia production, South Korea and Uruguay.

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Picking bunker winners: the mono-fuel / dual-fuel duel

This week, DNV GL published its annual Maritime Forecast to 2050, concluding that “e-ammonia, blue ammonia and bio-methanol are the most promising carbon-neutral fuels in the long run.” DNV GL’s assumptions that determine this long run, however, suggest a significant mid-term reliance on fossil LNG. This risks locking the industry into a long-term emissions trajectory incompatible with the IMO’s 2050 GHG targets, in part because of significant fuel supply and infrastructure investments. These investments could become more ‘sticky’ than expected. A host of alternative opinions have been published in the days before and after DNV GL published its report. These suggest that, for ammonia, the long run could begin this decade. Among others, MAN ES has announced that its ammonia engine will be available for retrofits by 2025.

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Korean Register Sees Ammonia as Preferred Alternative Maritime Fuel

Last week the classification society Korean Register of Shipping (KR) released Forecasting the Alternative Marine Fuel: Ammonia, a “technical document on the characteristics and the current status of ammonia as ship fuel.” One hesitates to take the title too literally, but the report really does forecast that ammonia will be the alternative marine fuel. Over the last year, a number of maritime transport stakeholders – engine producers, government agencies, other classification societies – have identified ammonia as a promising means of industry decarbonization. But in joining the group, KR makes a notably explicit and complete case in ammonia’s favor.

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Maritime ammonia engines in Japan; ammonia shipbuilding in South Korea

This week, Japan Engine Corporation (J-ENG) announced the launch of a new R&D program, in collaboration with the National Maritime Research Institute, that focuses on engine development for "combustion of carbon-free fuel (e.g. hydrogen and ammonia)." Five hundred miles across the Sea of Japan, DSME has completed a techno-economic feasibility study comparing three fuels: HFO (with scrubber), LNG, and ammonia. The results of this study will be presented at the Ammonia Energy Conference, in Orlando, FL, on November 13. DSME is one of the three big shipbuilders in South Korea, and its business case for ammonia is strong enough that now "DSME is planning to expand our technology and business to NH3 engineering and systems for commercial ships."

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Maritime fuel mix could be 25% ammonia by 2050

DNV GL published its annual Energy Transition Outlook last week, which includes a dedicated analysis of the shipping industry in its Maritime Forecast to 2050. According to DNV GL, the IMO's 2050 emission reduction targets can be met through innovative ship design, using ammonia as an alternative fuel. Widespread commercial adoption of ammonia fuel would begin in 2037; ammonia would the dominant fuel choice for new builds by 2042; and ammonia would represent 25% of the maritime fuel mix by 2050. This represents new demand for roughly 120 million tons per year of green ammonia by 2050. This outcome greatly depends on how maritime regulations are developed in the coming years, but it would see ammonia-fueled ships represent almost 100% of new vessels (by fuel consumption) from 2044 onwards.

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Maritime Industry Targets Ammonia Fuel to Decarbonize Shipping

In the last 12 months ... The International Maritime Organization issued its Initial GHG Strategy, committing the global shipping industry to emission reductions that cannot be achieved with carbon-based fuels. This single action is the regulatory trigger that unleashes a three-decade transition to carbon-free liquid fuels like ammonia. The target date for this 50% reduction in emissions is 2050 but, given the long economic life of ocean vessels, the transition must begin immediately.

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DNV GL predicts carbon-neutral fuels, including ammonia, to surpass oil for shipping by 2050

This week, DNV GL published its annual Energy Transition Outlook, providing a long-term forecast for global energy production and consumption, and including a dedicated report describing its Maritime Forecast to 2050. This is the first forecast from a major classification society explicitly to evaluate ammonia as a maritime fuel. By 2050, DNV GL predicts that 39% of the global shipping energy mix will consist of "carbon-neutral fuels," a category that include ammonia, hydrogen, biofuels, and other fuels produced from electricity. By 2050, these fuels will therefore have gained greater market share than oil, LNG, and battery-electric. If ammonia succeeds as the carbon-neutral fuel of choice in the shipping sector, this new demand will be roughly equivalent to 200 million tons of ammonia per year, more than today's total global production.