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Japanese consortium to develop and build ammonia-powered tugboat

04 Sep 2020

Japanese shipping firm NYK Line on Thursday (3 September) said it signed a joint research and development agreement with IHI Power Systems Co Ltd, and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) to put the world’s first ammonia-fuelled tugboat into practical use.

NYK noted that as carbon dioxide (CO2) is not emitted when ammonia is burned, it is viewed to have promise as a next-generation fuel that could mitigate shipping’s impact on global warming,

In addition, it is said that zero emissions can be realized by utilizing CO2-free hydrogen as a raw material for ammonia. Thus, the companies have decided to start this joint R&D for a tugboat that used ammonia as bunker fuel. 

The companies have previously worked together to jointly develop the LNG-fuelled tugboat Sakigake, which was built in 2015 as Japan’s first ship fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG). 

In this new joint R&D project, NYK said the consortium will utilize the knowledge cultivated in the development, construction, and operation of Sakigake.

Specifically, in fiscal 2020 the companies will tackle the technological development of the hull, engine, and fuel supply system, and development of safety navigation methods. 

After evaluating the practicality of the R&D results, they will commence the study of the construction of the ammonia-fueled tugboat as well as the plan for construction.

“If it is possible to commercialize marine equipment that uses ammonia, which is one of the candidates for a next-generation fuel, and establish a method for operating the vessel, it is expected that the Japanese maritime industry will make a significant contribution to decarbonization of the international shipping sector,” said NYK Line.

Related: Japan’s first LNG-fuelled vessel “Sakigake” reaches 100th LNG bunkering milestone
Related: NYK Group shows Japan’s first LNG-fuelled vessel to ASEAN delegates

Photo credit: NYK Line
Published: 4 September, 2020

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