New study finds ammonia-powered capes will be ready to depart from Australia within five years

A new study from the West Australia – East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor Consortium suggests ships powered by clean ammonia could be deployed on the iron ore trade routes between West Australia and East Asia by 2028 and reach 5% adoption by 2030.

The study indicates that the core elements for implementation of a West Australia-East Asia green corridor – including deployment of ammonia-powered ships, access to clean ammonia, and the availability of bunkering infrastructure – are within reach, provided that the safety case for the use of ammonia as marine fuel is validated and accepted.

Findings suggest that it is possible to get clean ammonia-powered bulk carriers on the water by 2028, provided the development of key technologies, such as suitable engines, and regulations remain on track. Enough clean ammonia will likely be available to meet the corridor’s near and long-term requirements. Should production scale up as expected, the corridor’s demand could be fully met by Australian clean ammonia but could also be imported from other production locations globally. The study also shows that the Pilbara region of Australia is a viable option for bunkering on the route, avoiding costly deviations from the trade route, whilst Singapore remains well-positioned to serve as a bunkering hub.

Should the corridor develop in accordance with the scenario in the analysis, more than 20 vessels could operate on clean ammonia on the corridor by 2030, scaling up to roughly 360 vessels by 2050.

The study is based on analysis by the Energy Transitions Commission, on behalf of the West Australia – East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor Consortium, a collaboration between the Global Maritime Forum, BHP, Rio Tinto, Oldendorff Carriers, and Star Bulk Carriers.

Laure Baratgin, head of commercial operations at Rio Tinto, commented: “The West Australia – East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor represents a great opportunity to aggregate green fuel demand and supply in support of the industry’s journey towards net-zero in this major trade lane. As we build on the study to realise a safe and economic green shipping corridor, public-private partnership is key to bring this project to life.”

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