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Report: Maritime emission risks not a ‘showstopper’ for ammonia-based fuel pathways

Well-to-tank emissions from ammonia fuels still need to be better understood to assess the overall viability of ammonia-based alternative fuel pathways, states MMMCZCS.

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Managing emissions from ammonia fueled vessels

The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (MMMCZCS) in early March released a paper ‘Managing Emissions from Ammonia-Fuelled Vessels’. The following are conclusions drawn from its study of using ammonia as a bunker fuel:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping (MMMCZCS) has identified blue and electro ammonia as potential low-emission alternative fuel pathways. The emissions profile for ammonia fuels is currently unknown, as ammonia engines are still under development.

However, emissions from ammonia internal combustion engines (ICEs) may present safety, climate, and regulatory risks, necessitating onboard vessel emission management technologies and solutions.

While ammonia combustion presents emission risks that are not fully known today, a combination of emission management technologies are already available or under development. A dedicated MMMCZCS working group was established to study potential emission scenarios for ammonia ICEs and technologies that can reduce emissions to acceptable levels.

The working group made the following conclusions:

Ammonia combustion presents specific emissions risks related to safety, health, and climate:

  • Ammonia slip is highly toxic, presenting a safety risk for crew and passengers on board the vessel.
  • NOX formed by incomplete ammonia combustion presents a health risk to local communities where vessels operate and must be managed to maintain regulatory compliance.
  • N2O is a potent greenhouse gas (GHG) impacting the global climate (1 gram of N2O is equivalent to 265 grams of CO2).
  • Due to poor ammonia combustion characteristics, secondary or pilot fuel is required. If the pilot fuel is fossil based, it will result in CO2 emissions

Onboard ammonia emission sources require a combination of emission management technologies:

We defined three emissions scenarios based on potential emission profiles, and all scenarios required 3-4 different treatment technologies to achieve acceptable emissions levels. Emission management technologies are needed to treat ammonia boil-off gas (BOG) from fuel tanks, ammonia mixtures from purging and venting operations, and combustion emissions from the engine(s). While such combinations would enable significant emissions reduction, they would also increase the cost and complexity of vessel design compared with vessels operating on conventional fuels.

Managing ammonia emissions is possible and management technology development timelines are expected to align with ammonia ICE development:

Some emission management technologies are already commercially available for maritime use, including reliquefication and selective catalytic reduction (SCR). Others are based on existing maritime or shore-based concepts that need to be adapted for ammonia as a fuel, including engines, gas combustion units (GCU)/ boilers, catalysts, and water catchers/chemical absorbers.

Industry-wide collaboration during engine and emission management technology development is needed to optimize ammonia-fueled vessel designs:

All stakeholders, including engine manufacturers and emission management technology suppliers, must work together to develop ammonia-fueled vessel designs and optimize the use of materials, costs, and overall system efficacy. Without collaboration, specific parts of the vessel design will be developed in isolation, and interconnected systems and technologies could end up unnecessarily oversized, inefficient, or costly. Regulators should follow upcoming tests and technology development closely to ensure that practical, effective, and realistic targets and goals are set from the beginning.

Acceptable ammonia emission levels are not yet clearly defined:

Given the broad range of exposure limits in literature and the lack of knowledge on ammonia as a fuel for the maritime sector, there is a need to be conservative when defining guidelines as an additional safeguard. Thus, low limits are generally included in Classification Society (Class) guidelines, ahead of mandatory International Maritime Organization (IMO) instruments in response to the industry’s interest in ammonia as a fuel. The operational ammonia limits defined in existing Class guidelines vary. Coordinated alignment on thresholds for adequate risk management is required to secure standardization and industry guidance.

Our analysis showed that, with industry-wide collaboration across ammonia engine development, emission management, and vessel design, emission risks will not be a showstopper for ammonia-based fuel pathways. However, well-to-tank (WTT) emissions from ammonia fuels still need to be better understood to assess the overall viability of ammonia-based alternative fuel pathways.

Note for readers: The full report can be obtained through the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping website here.

 

Photo credit: Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping
Published: 6 March, 2023

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Methanol

VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Firm was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol bunker fuel delivery to “Eco Maestro” in Singapore.

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VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (28 May) said it was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe, part of the OCI Global Group, to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol fuel delivery to Eco Maestro in Singapore.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS, said VPS survey experts Rafael Theseira and Muhd Nazmi Abdul Rahim were at hand during the methanol bunkering to ensure the 300 metric tonnes of methanol transfer was carried out smoothly, having been involved in the first methanol bunkering a year ago. 

Manifold Times recently reported X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) successfully completing the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore.

A X-Press Feeder container vessel, Eco Maestro, on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier.

Captain Choudhuri said the role of the marine, petroleum or bunker surveyor has evolved over the years in shipping and maritime affairs, but the principles have not - and that is to provide independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the product transfer. 

“This may seem obvious but this quality and quantity control is crucial to avoid commercial discrepancies, shortages or fraud,” he said.

“Safety training is critical and we have been on top of this having completed the required MPA fire-fighting course and the IBIA Methanol training course. We will work more with the Singapore Maritime Academy for trainings in future,” he added.

In August last year, Singapore-headquartered independent common carrier X-Press Feeders launched its first ever dual-fuel vessel Eco Maestro in China.

Manifold Times previously reported VPS stating it was the first company to complete a methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) operation in Singapore on 27 July last year.

VPS was appointed by Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd, to undertake the very first bunker quantity survey (BQS) of a methanol fuel delivery, supplied by Hong Lam to the Maersk vessel on its maiden voyage to Europe. 

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: X-Press Feeders launches its first methanol dual-fuel vessel “Eco Maestro” in China

 

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 29 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor; Gasum’s bunker vessels “Coralius”, “Kairos” and “Coral Energy” will be used for the bunkering operations.

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Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Nordic liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker supplier Gasum on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a long-term contract with Norway-based global energy company Equinor whereby Gasum continues to supply LNG to Equinor’s dual-fuel chartered fleet of vessels. 

The agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor. Gasum’s bunker vessels Coralius, Kairos and Coral Energy will be used for the bunkering operations.

The agreement also includes additional support services such as cooling down and gassing up, which has also been a part of Gasum’s previous collaboration with Equinor. 

Gasum has organised three separate LNG cool down operations for Equinor in Skagen so far this year.

Both Gasum and Equinor have committed to sustainability goals to enable a cleaner energy future. Equinor’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Using LNG in maritime transport means complete removal of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particles, and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of up to 85 percent as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 20%. LNG is interchangeable with liquefied biogas (LBG/bio-LNG), which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to conventional fuel such as marine gasoil (MGO).

With LNG and bio-LNG the maritime industry can reduce emissions already today, instead of waiting for future solutions. Gasum’s strategic goal is to bring yearly seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas to market by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean combined carbon dioxide reduction of 1.8 million tons per year for Gasum’s customers.

Related: Equinor Energy AS extends LNG bunkering agreement with Gasum
Related: Gasum expands LNG bunkering business to ARA region through partnership with Equinor

 

Photo credit: Gasum
Published: 29 May 2024

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Methanol

Consortium inks MoU for facility in Egypt to produce green methanol bunker fuel

AD Ports Group, Transmar and Orascom Construction will develop a green methanol storage and export facility, which will provide bunkering solutions for mainliners who have ordered green methanol powered vessels.

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Consortium inks MoU for facility in Egypt to produce green methanol bunker fuel

AD Ports Group, a facilitator of global trade, logistics and industry on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with container shipping line and terminal operator Transmar and global engineering and construction contractor Orascom Construction for the development of a green methanol storage and export facility. 

AD Ports Group said the facility will aim to supply low-carbon fuel for maritime transport, presenting an opportunity to establish clean alternative energy storage solutions globally.

Green methanol is a synthetic fuel produced renewably and without polluting emissions, and can be produced from green hydrogen. This chemical compound can be used as a low-carbon liquid fuel and is a promising alternative to fossil fuels in areas where decarbonisation is a major challenge.  

Aside from the maritime industry, green methanol can help decarbonise other hard-to-abate industries, including chemical and plastics. 

“The addition of a facility in this area will provide bunkering solutions for those mainliners who have ordered green methanol powered vessels and is aligned with AD Ports Group’s overall decarbonisation strategy and expansion into clean energy liquid bulk storage,” the Group added.

Captain Ammar Mubarak Al Shaiba, CEO – Maritime & Shipping Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: "By signing this MoU with Orascom Construction who have vast international experience in bulk liquid terminals for Methanol storage, and Transmar, who have decades of expertise in this region and within terminal operations, AD Ports Group and its subsidiaries are taking a significant step towards the sustainable future of energy.”

“This initiative not only aligns with the UAE's decarbonisation goals but also accelerates the energy transition in shipping, positioning us at the forefront of the green hydrogen revolution and enabling us to contribute to global environmental stewardship and economic diversification."

 

Photo credit: AD Ports Group
Published: 29 May 2024

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