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SIBCON 2022 Interview: Eaglestar discusses challenges and possible solutions in embracing ammonia as a bunker fuel

Ammonia availability, bunkering facilities, storage, and transhipment are the key challenges in the ammonia bunkering supply chain, shares Capt. Peter Liew, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Eaglestar.

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The following interview with Capt. Peter Liew, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Eaglestar, is part of coverage for the upcoming Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) 2022, where Manifold Times is an official media partner. Eaglestar is a world-class provider of global integrated marine services and a member company of the MISC Group.

Capt. Peter Liew gives his take on how shipowners can decide between the types of alternative fuel solutions for their new and existing assets and elaborates on MISC Group’s roadmap to adopting ammonia as a bunker fuel. He also shares challenges the shipping industry will face in embracing ammonia as a marine fuel with possible solutions to overcome them.

MT: What is MISC’s view and roadmap on the adoption of ammonia as a bunker fuel?

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MISC is supportive of the various alternative fuels and technology that will help us to achieve our net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions commitments by 2050. We have revised our baseline year to 2008 to align with the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2030 and IMO 2050 targets.

MISC believes that ammonia is one of the viable pathways to support decarbonisation in the maritime industry, in line with the IMO’s 2050 goals. We also believe that collaboration is vital to support the overall agenda of decarbonising the maritime industry. It is important for the leaders and industry players to continue engaging and exploring together the opportunities that are arising and how the risks related to new fuel adoption can be managed through collaborations.

MISC is a proud partner of The Castor Initiative, a multi-stakeholder global coalition that is committed to jointly developing commercially viable deep-sea zero-emission vessels (ZEV) fuelled by ammonia by 2030 in line with the IMO’s GHG aspirations.

Moving forward, MISC Group will progressively renew its fleet to high-efficiency dual-fuel engine vessels from now to 2030. The Group will also execute continuous operational efficiency improvements with the aim of reducing the energy consumed on voyages as well as implement strategies to optimise the technical and operational efficiencies of our vessels. MISC expects to progressively change its fleet to ZEV from 2031 as part of its net-zero GHG emissions commitment by 2050.

Road Map

MISC believes that our pathways towards decarbonisation by 2050 will be achieved by simultaneously executing our short and medium term goals together.

Our transition plan between 2021 to 2030, is to progressively renew our fleet with high- efficiency, dual-fuel vessels, in addition to promoting advanced technologies that minimises emissions from our vessels. To complement our efforts as a member of The Castor Initiative, the MISC Group is committed to developing zero-carbon emission vessels with our strategic partners.

In the long term, starting 2031 (if not sooner) until 2050, we will progressively undergo a fleet renewal to zero-carbon emission vessels. We will also focus on continuous operational efficiency improvements by adopting new technological innovations on existing and new builds to continuously improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

For carbon removal technology which depends on its viability, we aim to adopt carbon capture retrofits in our existing newer vessels to remove excess carbon emissions. Carbon offset is one of the key building blocks in MISC’s net-zero GHG emissions commitments by 2050 to compensate for residual emissions not possible to be abated.

MT: As ship/crew/technical manager, how does Eaglestar support in achieving MISC’s decarbonisation goal?

Eaglestar plays a pivotal role in supporting MISC Group’s decarbonisation journey in terms of developing our global maritime workforce, and our subject matter experts are capable of addressing the spectrum of technical and operational challenges that confront the introduction of alternative fuels. Our collective wealth of expertise coupled in ship management puts us at the forefront of executing MISC Group’s decarbonisation goals.

Eaglestar provides a comprehensive range of integrated marine services and delivers a suite of solutions ranging from fleet management and operations and maintenance (O&M) to crew management and manning services, dry-docking management as well as project management services for newbuild construction, conversion projects and vessel repair life extension for internal and external customers.

We operate and maintain a modern and diversified fleet of vessels including LNG carriers (conventional steam and DFDE), Ethane carriers, LNG Bunkering Vessel (LBV), Crude Oil carriers, Dynamic Positioning shuttle tankers (DP2 standard), Product/Chemical vessels (Type II), LNG Floating Storage Units (FSUs), Marine Containment Vessels and Petroleum tankers(Aframax) propelled by LNG dual fuel engines (LNG and Fuel Oil) supported by a team of highly skilled, competent and dedicated professionals. Our Centre of Excellence leverages upon the combined resources and experience of more than 60 years as proven by our excellent HSE performance in the shipping industry, enabling us to better serve key vessel segments in various markets and to achieve short-medium and long-term decarbonisation goals.

Eaglestar’s advantage as one of the earliest ship managers of LNG and dual-fuel vessels within the maritime industry, enables us to play a vital role to support this aspiration by contributing our extensive knowledge and capabilities in technological solutions and maritime talents. We have embarked on the initiatives to fortify our human capital and people capabilities to support MISC Group as well as The Castor Initiative’s aspirations which will ultimately contribute to the maritime industry’s decarbonisation goals.

MT: Which types of vessels will be ideal candidates to consume as ammonia as a bunker fuel and why?

In our opinion, any vessel can be the ideal candidate to consume Ammonia as fuel. In deciding the types or alternative fuel solutions for its new and existing assets, a ship owner should take the following matters, among others, into consideration.

  1. The readiness/maturity of the specific fuel technology.
  2. The containment system requirements for safe storage and bunkering arrangements.
  3. The fuel availability and bunkering infrastructure, and trading routes.
  4. The people’s capability for the safe operation and handling of toxic substances.
  5. The required rules and regulations to meet industrial strict safety and technical standards requirements.

It is undeniable that there may be potential risks that are associated with new fuel technologies. Hence collaboration and sharing of those risks among all industry players along the value chain are imperative. However, building a new vessel without an alternative fuel solution, in our opinion, is careless and irresponsible.

MT: What kinds of challenges will the shipping industry face when embracing ammonia as a bunker fuel? What are the solutions?

Ammonia, in its natural form, as we all know, is a toxic substance, and the challenge is in ensuring that the fuel can be transported, stored, and consumed safely. Our seafarers must be trained and equipped with the skills and knowledge required to handle ammonia in the safest manner. Existing international rules, regulations, and controls need to address these specific risks.

Ammonia as a fuel is a new technology, thus it has technical and operational challenges. Hence it is imperative, that time should be given to develop this technology without pressure, and it is equally important for all parties who are involved in the development of this technology to work together rather than against each other.

The availability of ammonia as fuel and its pricing in relation to conventional fuel are challenges that need to be addressed. It is crucial to have the commitment from fuel suppliers to make the fuel available at the right location and quantity. The price disparity between ammonia and conventional fuel, if not properly addressed, could potentially derail the commercialisation of ammonia as bunker fuel. Hence, it is imperative to level the playing field by instituting a global carbon tax or carbon levy to make ammonia a viable fuel.

In summary, it is true, like any other fuel technology; ammonia fuel technology confronts multiple challenges. Consequently, it is vital that all industry players and stakeholders along the value chain (regulators, policymakers, authorities, shipyards, classification society, engine manufacturers, ammonia producers, facility providers, charterers, and financiers/bankers) collaborate to overcome these challenges and equally share the risks associated with this fuel technology.

MT: What changes will the bunkering industry need to undergo in order to support shipping’s switch to ammonia bunkers?

Ammonia availability, bunkering facilities, storage, and transhipment are the key challenges in the bunkering supply chain. With the currently established global grid of ammonia terminals and storage, a similar bunkering grid could be established quickly and cost-efficiently by converting small gas tanker vessels to bunker barges. In the long-term, marine bunkering infrastructures should include bunkering from both bunker ships and onshore storage. Ramping up production is required to meet at least 30% of marine fuel demand in 2050, which is around 150 million tons/year.

Special considerations should be made to risk assessment measures to prevent accidents. This would take into consideration the probability of leakage, gas detection systems, and certification along the supply chain. Also, the development of new regulations and rules are needed and could very much be extended and fortified from existing rules. The bunkering operation itself would be very similar to when bunkering other gaseous fuels, except the main hazard would be the fuel toxicity rather than flammability, and the procedures for ammonia bunker barges need to be developed. It is crucial to develop the people’s capabilities to trans-ship and handle ammonia as bunker fuel, safely and effectively.

For certification and traceability, while traditional fuels have a wide and complex range of properties, ammonia is a clean fuel consisting of only one compound, which eliminates all variations between types and qualities, thereby greatly simplifying fuel sourcing, qualification and analysis.

MT: Is the ammonia bunker fuel future nearby, or still far away?

It depends on how one perceives what is near or far away. Currently, ammonia in many ways, in

our opinion, is relatively the most matured and viable zero-carbon fuel technology solution. There are many various active industry initiatives that are currently and seriously pursuing ammonia as bunker fuel.

Decisive and affirmative government actions and investment commitment are fervently needed to scale up the use of ammonia as bunker fuel. The Castor Initiative is one of the advance groups of like-minded industry stakeholder collaboration that is currently pursuing to deliver a dual fuel ammonia vessel in 2025/26.

A list of other interviews conducted by Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times on occasion of SIBCON 2022 are as follows:

Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Digitalisation in bunkering ops, can lower costs and enable decarbonisation, says StormGeo
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Co-Convenors offer insights into Singapore’s upcoming Digital Bunker Document Standard
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: MFMs relevant for custody transfer of future liquid-based marine fuels, confirms Endress+Hauser
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Clyde & Co discusses handling of bunker fuel quality disputes, alt fuels contracts
Related: SIBCON 2022 Interview: Singapore Bunkering TC Chairman shares republic’s direction on future marine fuels

 

Photo credit: Eaglestar
Published: 11 October, 2022

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Ammonia

Singapore: EMA, MPA shortlist two consortia for ammonia power generation and bunkering

Chosen consortia are Keppel’s Infrastructure Division and Sembcorp-SLNG, and the bunkering players in these consortia are Itochu Corporation, NYK Line and Sumitomo Corporation.

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The Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday (25 July) said they have shortlisted two consortia that will proceed to the next round of evaluations of proposals to provide a low- or zero-carbon ammonia solution on Jurong Island for power generation and bunkering. 

The two consortia were selected from a total of six that were earlier shortlisted in 2023 to participate in a restricted Request for Proposal (RFP), following an Expression of Interest (EOI) called in 2022. The bids were assessed based on the technical, safety and commercial aspects of their proposals. 

The two consortium leads are Keppel’s Infrastructure Division and Sembcorp-SLNG, and the bunkering players in these consortia are Itochu Corporation, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) and Sumitomo Corporation. The two consortia will proceed to conduct engineering, safety and emergency response studies for the proposed Project.

At the next phase, we will select one of the two bidders as the lead developer of the project. The lead developer will develop the end-to-end ammonia solution comprising (i) generating 55 to 65 MW of electricity from imported low- or zero-carbon ammonia via direct combustion in a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine; and (ii) facilitating ammonia bunkering at a capacity of at least 0.1 million tons per annum (MTPA), starting with shore-to-ship bunkering followed by ship-to-ship bunkering. 

Given the nascency of the technology and global supply chains, the Government will work closely with the appointed lead developer to implement the Project. We aim to announce the lead developer by Q1 2025.

The project is part of Singapore’s National Hydrogen Strategy launched in 2022, which outlines Singapore’s approach to develop low-carbon hydrogen as a major decarbonisation pathway as part of the nation’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

A key thrust of this strategy is to experiment with the use of advanced hydrogen technologies that are on the cusp of commercial readiness. Ammonia is currently one of the most technologically-ready hydrogen carriers with an established international supply chain for industrial use.

“If successful, the project will position Singapore as one of the first countries in the world to deploy a direct ammonia combustion power plant and support the development of ammonia bunkering for international shipping, EMA and MPA said.

“This will help to unlock the potential of low-carbon ammonia as a low-carbon fuel.”

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 25 July 2024

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LNG Bunkering

China: River-sea LNG bunkering vessel named and delivered in Shanghai

The 14,000 cubic metre ship, “Huaihe Nengyuan Qihang”, was independently developed, designed and built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) for Huaihe Energy Holding Group.

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China: River-sea LNG bunkering vessel named and delivered in Shanghai

China’s river-to-sea LNG bunkering vessel, which was built locally, was named and delivered in Shanghai on Monday (19 July), according to the Shanghai Association of Shipbuilding Industry (SASIC). 

The 14,000 cubic metre (cbm) ship, Huaihe Nengyuan Qihang, was independently developed, designed and built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding (Group) Co., Ltd for Huaihe Energy Holding Group as part of China’s "Gasification of the Yangtze River” project.

The ship is capable of travelling through the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge all year round and has been dubbed a “Customised Yangtze River” LNG refuelling and transportation ship.

The ship is equipped with the B-type LNG containment system independently developed by Hudong-Zhonghua and authorised by a national patent.

According to SASIC, this was the first time such a system has been applied to a domestic LNG  refuelling and transportation ship, marking a major breakthrough in the B-type LNG containment system developed by China with independent intellectual property rights.

Related: China’s first river-sea LNG bunkering ship completes inaugural bunkering operation

Disclaimer: The above article published by Manifold Times was sourced from China’s domestic market through a local correspondent. While considerable efforts have been taken to verify its accuracy through a professional translator and processed from sources believed to be reliable, no warranty is made regarding the accuracy, completeness and reliability of any information.

 

Photo credit: Shanghai Shipbuilding Industry Association
Published: 25 July 2024

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Newbuilding

Singapore: EPS takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel bulker “Mount Ossa”

Firm said said the last vessel in its series of six 210,000 dwt DF LNG Newcastlemaxes chartered to Rio Tinto, was successfully delivered by New Times Shipbuilding.

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Singapore: EPS takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel bulker “Mount Ossa”

Singapore-based shipping firm Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (24 July) said the last vessel in its series of six 210,000 dwt dual-fuel LNG Newcastlemaxes chartered to Rio Tinto, was successfully delivered.

The delivery of Mount Ossa marked the 21st vessel being delivered by New Times Shipbuilding to EPS.

“Despite global challenges, Rio Tinto and EPS have shown unparalleled resilience and a strong commitment to decarbonize shipping,” it said in a social media post.

“Over the past three years, these LNG-powered vessels have proven to be a sustainable choice, emitting 30% less than their conventional counterparts. We have successfully completed over 200 LNG bunkering operations, significantly reducing emissions across our fleet.”

“We celebrate our strong partnership with New Times Shipbuilding on this 21st milestone delivery to the EPS fleet, grateful to have 43 world-class vessels built and delivered, including those on order from New Times, which means we are only halfway through our esteemed collaboration.”

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 25 July 2024

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