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Reed Smith: Benefits and risks of using ammonia as a bunker fuel

It will be interesting to see which industry players start to place orders for ammonia-fueled vessels given the recent surge in orders for dual-fuel methanol vessels, says Voirrey Blount, admiralty manager.

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Voirrey Blount, admiralty manager at international law firm Reed Smith on Friday (14 July) shared with bunkering publication Manifold Times her take on the benefits and risks of using ammonia as a bunker fuel following a recent development regarding Korea Maritime Consultants securing approval in principle from the American Bureau of Shipping for its design of an ammonia-fueled containership:

As the shipping industry seeks to hit the IMO 2050 targets, an ever-increasing amount of fuels are being touted as the game-changer that will help the industry reach those aims.

ABS, a major classification society, has recently approved a small ammonia fuelled vessel to go into production. Ammonia is one of many fuels that has thrown its hat in the ring and this latest ABS approval is an important step forward given the array of difficulties users will face by using ammonia as a fuel.

When ammonia is burnt it produces nitrogen and water, it does not contain any carbon and therefore no CO2 is emitted during combustion. However, whilst being better on the CO2 emissions, ammonia combustion may produce both nitrogen oxide and nitrous oxide as a by-product.

Nitrous oxide is substantially more potent (around 270 times more) in terms of greenhouse effects than CO2. This risk needs to be mitigated and there are various options being explored by the industry such as the use of a catalyst or by tuning the actual combustion process to keep it within a certain temperature and pressure which can stop or severely limit the chance of nitrous oxide being produced. 

When green ammonia (i.e. ammonia produced from air and water using renewable energy) is used, ammonia can be a zero-carbon fuel from a well-to-wake perspective and pending potential future changes to the CII regulations this may be a significant draw when compared to other fuels.

Many smaller vessels operate closer inshore and often find themselves navigating in emissions restricted areas, for example feeder container ships operating in the North Sea and Baltic Sea special sulphur emission control area (SECA). The focus on developing adaptable new-fuel technology for this size of vessel provides an ability for owners to comply with the stringent emission rules and achieve decarbonisation targets faster.

Ammonia is highly toxic to both people and the marine environment, so any on board leak would be a major emergency. Ammonia is often stored under pressure, increasing potential risks when bunkering, and a high level of alignment is needed between international regulators to ensure safety for the shore-side, the vessel and the environment.

It will be interesting to see which industry players start to place orders for ammonia-fueled vessels given the recent surge in orders for dual-fuel methanol vessels.

Related: ABS awards AiP to Korea Maritime Consultants for new ammonia-fuelled container ship

Photo credit: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Published: 21 July, 2023

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LNG Bunkering

CMA CGM takes delivery of fourth LNG-fuelled containership

Naming ceremony and delivery of vessel, organised at HD Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea, marked entry of the fourth vessel in a series of ten specially designed for Northern Europe feeder services.

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CMA CGM takes delivery of fourth LNG-fuelled containership

French shipping giant on Wednesday (19 June) said it celebrated the naming ceremony and delivery of its fourth LNG-fuelled container ship, CMA CGM Tivoli.

Organised at HD Hyundai Mipo in Ulsan, South Korea, on 16 June, the event marked the official entry of the fourth vessel in a series of ten specially designed for Northern Europe feeder services.

“Featuring optimised features for 45-foot containers, increased capacity for refrigerated containers, and innovative forward accommodation to enhance cargo loading and aerodynamics, CMA CGM Tivoli distinguishes itself with a high ‘length to beam" ratio to maximise hydrodynamic efficiency,” the firm said in a social media post. 

“She departed the shipyard on June 15th, 2024, bound for Busan. We wish fair winds and smooth seas to Captain Artur Dumbrov and his crew.” 

 

Photo credit: CMA CGM
Published: 21 June, 2024

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Methanol

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan’s first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI’s Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

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Mitsubishi Shipbuilding receives orders for Japan's first methanol-fuelled RoRo cargo ship duo

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Group, on Wednesday (19 June) said it has received orders from Toyofuji Shipping and Fukuju Shipping for Japan's first methanol-fueled roll-on/roll-off (RORO) cargo ships. 

The two ships will be built at the Enoura Plant of MHI's Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, with scheduled completion and delivery by the end of fiscal 2027.

The ships will be approximately 169.9 meters in overall length and 30.2 meters in breadth, with 15,750 gross tonnage, and loading capacity for around 2,300 passenger vehicles.

A windscreen at the bow and a vertical stem are used to reduce propulsion resistance, while fuel efficiency is improved by employing MHI's proprietary energy-saving system technology combing high-efficiency propellers and high-performance rudders with reduced resistance. 

The main engine is a high-performance dual-fuel engine that can use both methanol and A heavy fuel oil, reducing CO2 emissions by more than 10% compared to ships with the same hull and powered by fuel oil, contributing to a reduced environmental impact. 

In the future, the use of green methanol(2) may lead to further reduction in CO2 emissions, including throughout the lifecycle of the fuel. Methanol-fueled RORO ships have already entered into service as ocean-going vessels around the world, but this is the first construction of coastal vessels for service in Japan.

In addition, the significant increase in vehicle loading capacity and transport capacity per voyage compared to conventional vessels will provide greater leeway in the ship allocation schedule, securing more holiday and rest time for the crew, thereby contributing to working style reforms.

Mitsubishi Shipbuilding, to address the growing needs from the modal shift in marine transport against the backdrop of CO2 reductions in land transportation, labor shortages, and working style reforms, will continue to work with its business partners to provide solutions for a range of societal issues by building ferries and RORO vessels with excellent fuel efficiency and environmental performance that contribute to stable navigation for customers.

 

Photo credit: Mitsubishi Shipbuilding
Published: 20 June, 2024

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Methanol

Maersk and Nike to christen methanol-fuelled boxship at Port of Los Angeles in August

Powered by methanol for its maiden voyage and capable of carrying more than 16,000 containers, the vessel will get its new name at a private ceremony at Port of Los Angeles Outer Harbor.

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Maersk

A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) on Wednesday (19 June) said it will be christening one of the world’s first methanol-enabled vessels when it arrives in Los Angeles this August.

The firm invited the public to go aboard the container ship in Los Angeles.

Powered by methanol for its maiden voyage and capable of carrying more than 16,000 containers (TEU), the vessel will get its new name at a private ceremony at the Port of Los Angeles Outer Harbor on Tuesday, August 27. 

Maersk’s CEO Vincent Clerc will be on hand, alongside special guest speakers from Nike and leading state and local officials. Nike is a partner in the name-giving event.

“Nike is committed to protecting the future of sport and we leverage science-based targets to guide us through our Move to Zero journey,” said Venkatesh Alagirisamy, Nike Chief Supply Chain Officer.

“Operating one of the largest supply chains in the world, we have a responsibility to advance the innovation and use of more sustainable methods that get us closer to zero carbon and zero waste. By working with suppliers like Maersk, who share our commitment to sustainability, we are scaling our use of biofuels in ocean transportation, our main first-mile delivery channel.”

“This event is not only an opportunity to celebrate a remarkable engineering achievement, but the chance to highlight that we can navigate towards more sustainable supply chains if we work together,” said Charles van der Steene, Regional President for Maersk North America.

On Wednesday, August 28, Maersk invites the public to tour the 350-meter-long vessel, which will be sailing from Asia. Visitors will be able to see the Sailors’ living quarters and even stand on the bridge from where the captain controls the vessel. Public tours will require visitors register for a free ticket via an online registration site that will be activated and announced in August.

This is the fifth container vessel in Maersk’s fleet that can sail on green methanol bunker fuel.

 

Photo credit: A.P. Moller – Maersk
Published: 20 June, 2024

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