Japanese consortium to develop ammonia-fuelled vessels

Imabari Shipbuilding is participating in a new Japanese consortium to develop ammonia-fuelled vessels.Imabari Shipbuilding is participating in a new Japanese consortium to develop ammonia-fuelled vessels.

A Japanese consortium is collaborating in a project to develop ships designed to use ammonia as fuel, using a MAN ES ammonia-fuelled engine as the prime mover.

The Japanese consortium brings together ClassNK, a leading shipyard (Imabari Shipbuilding) and an original equipment supplier (Mitsui E&S Machinery Co. Ltd), as well as MAN ES. Itochu, a Japanese trading house (shosha sogo), and its fuel trading subsidiary, Itochu Enex, will help to develop ammonia bunkering infrastructure and an ammonia fuel supply chain.

Mitsui will work with MAN to develop an ammonia-fuelled engine, and will also represent the equipment supplier’s perspective, verifying the safety and reliability of the entire life cycle of the propulsion system, including manufacturing and commissioning at the factory.

Imabari will develop a vessel that equips a ship with an ammonia storage tank as a marine fuel, a fuel supply system, and a series of main engine systems. The shipyard has extensive experience of designing and building gas-fuelled as well as alternative liquid-fuelled ships, such as LPG.

ClassNK will carry out a third-party hazard identification (HAZID) assessment to understand the risks involved with using ammonia as a marine fuel. The class society expects to develop guidelines around the use of ammonia as a marine fuel.

The Motorship notes the existing regulatory framework, such as the IMO’s IGF Code (International Code of Safety for Ship Using Gases or Other Low-flashpoint Fuels) needs to be revised to cover the use of ammonia as a fuel.

Itochu Corporation expects to own and operate ammonia-fuelled ships but also plans to play a wider role in developing partnerships with ammonia producers and other supply chain participants.

Itochu Corporation will also jointly develop a facility for supplying ammonia fuel for ships with Itochu Enex. Itochu Enex is a bunker supplier with operations inside major Japanese ports, as well as overseas, which will supply ammonia for the project.

MAN ES is already involved in several other projects connected with its new ME-LGIP ammonia-fuelled engine.

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