Maritime developments: on-water cracking, AiPs and Singapore bunker study releases first results

In maritime ammonia updates this week:

  • In Europe, government funding will support the development of an ammonia cracking system that can be installed on existing LNG vessels (Norway), and the establishment of a floating production and storage facility connected to an offshore wind farm (Netherlands).
  • Two AiPs have been granted: one for Korea’s first ammonia FSRU vessel, the other for a bunkering tanker in Singapore.
  • H2Carrier and Trelleborg will develop a ship-to-ship ammonia transfer system.
  • And GCMD has unveiled the results of their Singaporean ammonia bunker study. All risks identified for conducting pilot projects were found to be low or mitigable, with work towards those pilots to continue.


New R&D: ammonia as a green steel enabler

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute report that ammonia was successfully used as a reductant to convert iron ore to sponge iron in a laboratory-scale reactor. The direct use of ammonia effectively offers a “process shortcut” in green steelmaking, removing the need for ammonia cracking or the extra costs associated with the transport & storage of hydrogen.


NoGAPS vessel project enters next phase

The second phase of the NoGAPS project is well underway. Led by the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, a detailed plan for the design, operation and business case for the future MS NoGAPS vessel will be developed. Construction and delivery is expected in 2024-25. Also in Scandinavia, Viridis Bulk Carriers has been awarded AiP from Bureau Veritas for its ammonia-fueled, short-sea, bulk carrier design.


Ammonia cracking technologies gather traction across Europe

In cracking technology updates this week:

  • Air Liquide’s industrial-scale, ammonia cracking pilot plant at the Port of Antwerp is expected to be operational in 2024.
  • In the UK, AFC Energy has announced a new cracking technology platform.
  • Aramco and Linde Engineering have plans to develop their own ammonia cracking technology based on a new catalyst, with a demonstration plant in northern Germany to follow.
  • And Fraunhofer IMM researchers have developed the compact AMMONPAKTOR cracking reactor system, which will be utilised to feed PEM fuel cells.


Retrofitting vessels for ammonia fuel: new technical study from Grieg Star

Grieg Star and a series of high-profile maritime consortium partners have assessed the full feasibility for retrofitting a Grieg Star L-Class vessel to run on ammonia fuel. The study concludes that technical & regulatory challenges will not be showstoppers in the transition. A combination of high investment costs, uncertainty over ammonia fuel availability & pricing and slow market development remain the biggest barriers, presenting significant risks for first movers.


New ammonia-powered vessel designs win AiP

Three new ammonia-powered, bulk carrier designs have recently been awarded Approval in Principle. In China, SDTR Marine & SDARI’s Kamsarmax dual-fuel design received AiP from the China Classification Society. In Japan, another Kamsarmax-sized vessel developed by Sumitomo and Oshima Shipping was approved, and ClassNK has signed off on a Capemax vessel designed by MOL and Mitsui & Co., which includes an ammonia-powered main engine and hard sails to improve energy efficiency.