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Alternative Fuels

Southern Devall takes first steps for ammonia-powered fleet with Amogy ammonia-to-power tech

Duo plans to pursue retrofits of additional barges and tugboats, creating an ammonia-powered fleet including bunkering barges for emission-free refuelling of ammonia-powered ships.

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Ammonia power solutions firm Amogy Inc. on Tuesday (1 November) announced a strategic partnership and technology deployment project with Southern Devall, formerly Southern Towing Company & Devall Towing, with plans down the pipeline to create an ammonia-powered fleet. 

Southern Devall specialises in transporting bulk liquid chemicals and fertiliser products throughout the Mississippi River and Gulf Intracoastal Waterway System. With the successful integration of Amogy’s technology in a tank barge for the first time, this collaboration with Southern Devall will facilitate the commercial debut of Amogy’s ammonia-to-power technology in the global maritime market. 

Following the barge integration and demonstration, Amogy and Southern Devall plan to pursue retrofits of additional barges and tugboats, creating an ammonia-powered fleet that includes cargo transportation vessels as well as bunkering barges for efficient, emission-free refuelling of ammonia-powered ships. 

Southern Devall Barge 300x225 1

Southern Devall currently services a significant portion of the ammonia production market and delivers ammonia to terminals for export and agricultural and chemical customers along America’s inland waterways. Amogy’s proprietary ammonia-to-power system converts ammonia into hydrogen for use in fuel cells or as a more energy dense method of long-distance hydrogen transportation.

The system, already demonstrated in a farming tractor and aerial drone, is now being scaled for use in larger applications, including ships and ammonia bunkering barges to support the maritime industry’s decarbonisation efforts. This partnership will provide Amogy with access to vast ammonia infrastructure as well as the Southern Devall team’s expertise in handling ammonia and maritime operations. 

Amogy and Southern Devall have initiated work on their first technology deployment, a retrofit of a barge that is anticipated to be completed by the end of 2023. An Amogy powerpack will generate the power needed to reliquefy ammonia as it heats up over the course of a voyage, instead of a diesel genset. The Amogy system will keep the ammonia tank pressure low, enabling Southern Devall to deliver ammonia to customers upon arrival and increase the utilisation and profitability of their fleet. Furthermore, Amogy’s system has already passed initial safety reviews and recently received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Lloyd’s Register, a maritime classification society, for a powerpack design similar to what the team will look to deploy in this project. 

“Southern Devall shares Amogy’s passion for driving innovation, making them the perfect strategic partner to support our commercial entrance to the U.S. maritime market,” said Seonghoon Woo, CEO of Amogy. 

“In collaboration with their team, we’ll have a first-mover advantage in this space through expanded access to the ammonia infrastructure and industry knowledge, setting us on track to demonstrate our platform’s operational capabilities in large maritime vessels.” 

“Amogy has built an impressive platform that our team believes is an ideal solution for introducing cost-efficient, zero-carbon bunkering and powering operations to the inland barge industry,” said Sam Lewis, Vice President of Engineering at Southern Devall. 

“Adopting their solution at scale in our fleet has both environmental and economic benefits through increased delivery volume. We look forward to demonstrating the value of ammonia-to-power solutions in our first project with Amogy and introducing industry and channel partners to these innovations.” 

In the U.S., the inland shipping sector is responsible for an estimated 6.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. Many operators in this industry rely on older, high-investment equipment, vessels and barges dating back to the 1960s.

The partnership between Amogy and Southern Devall will demonstrate scalable, cost-effective solutions for refurbishing fleets to improve quality and introduce zero-carbon power and bunkering capabilities. Current and future projects and demonstrations the companies are pursuing will enable commercialisation and broad adoption of ammonia-to-power technologies and keep the industry on track to meet the maritime shipping industry’s goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050. 

 

Photo credit: Amogy
Published: 3 November, 2022

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Alternative Fuels

IUMI: How can liability and compensation regimes adapt to alternative bunker fuels and cargoes?

Existing international liability and compensation regimes do not fully cater to the changes that the use of alternative marine fuels will bring.

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Dangerous cargo

By Tim Howse, Member of the IUMI Legal & Liability Committee and Vice President, Head of Industry Liaison, Gard (UK) Limited

The world economy is transitioning, with industries across the board seeking to reduce their carbon footprint and embrace more sustainable practices. As part of this, there is a huge effort within our industry to look to decarbonise, using alternative fuels such as biofuel, LNG, LPG, ammonia, methanol, and hydrogen.

Until now there has been much focus on carbon emissions and operational risks associated with the use of alternative fuels. This includes increased explosivity, flammability, and corrosivity. An ammonia leak causing an explosion in port could result in personal injuries, not to mention property damage, air, and sea pollution. In addition, alternative fuels may not be compatible with existing onboard systems, increasing the risk of breakdowns and fuel loss resulting in pollution. Apart from these safety concerns, which particularly concern crew, air pollution and other environmental impacts need to be addressed.

However, the green transition also presents us with a separate regulatory challenge, which has received less attention so far. So, whilst carbon emissions and safety concerns are rightly on top of the agenda now, the industry also needs to prioritise the potential barriers in the legal and regulatory frameworks which will come sharply into focus if there is an accident.

If anything, historic maritime disasters like the Torrey Canyon spill in 1967, have taught us that we should look at liability and compensation regimes early and with a degree of realism to ensure society is not caught off-guard. With our combined experience, this is perhaps where the insurance industry can really contribute to the transition.

Currently, existing international liability and compensation regimes do not fully cater to the changes that the use of alternative fuels will bring. For example, an ammonia fuel spill would not fall under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunkers Convention), potentially resulting in a non-uniform approach to jurisdiction and liability. Similarly, an ammonia cargo incident would not fall under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC). Uncertainties may also exist in the carriage of CO2 as part of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects, which may be treated as a pollutant, with corresponding penalties or fines.

A multitude of questions will arise depending on what happens, where it happens, and the values involved, many of which may end up as barriers for would be claimants. How will such claims be regulated, will there be scope for limitation of liability, and would there be a right of direct action against the insurers? In the absence of a uniform international liability, compensation and limitation framework, shipowners, managers, charterers, individual crew, and the insurers may be at the mercy of local actions. Increased concerns about seafarer criminalisation (even where international conventions exist, ‘wrongful’ criminalisation does still occur) may emerge, creating another disincentive to go to sea.

When being carried as a cargo, the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS), which is not yet in force, may resolve some of these issues for alternative fuels and CO2. However, until HNS comes into force, there will be no international uniformity to liability and compensation for the carriage of alternative fuels and CO2 as cargoes. This creates uncertainties for potential victims and their insurers, who may face increased risks and costs, due to the potential inability of existing regulations to provide protections.

The situation is even less clear in the case of bunkers. The rules for using alternative fuels as bunkers might require a separate protocol to HNS, a protocol to the Bunkers Convention, or a whole new convention specifically for alternative fuels.  Relevant considerations for the appropriate legislative vehicle include states’ preparedness to reopen the Bunkers Convention, the ability to conclude a protocol to HNS before it comes into force, and whether a multi-tier fund structure is needed for alternative fuels as bunkers (perhaps unnecessary because bunkers are usually carried in smaller quantities compared to cargoes).

Until then, what we are left with are the existing international protective funds, designed to respond at the highest levels to pollution claims resulting from an oil spill, without any similar mechanism in place to respond to a spill of alternative fuels, which are themselves so central to a green transition. Somewhat perversely, victims of accidents involving an oil spill may therefore enjoy better protections than victims of an alternative fuels spill.

In summary, while the use of alternative fuels will no doubt help to reduce the industry's carbon footprint, there are safety and practical hurdles to overcome. Stakeholders must also come together to find solutions to complex - and urgent, in relative terms - legal and regulatory challenges.

 

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Source:  International Union of Marine Insurance
Published: 13 June 2024

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Ammonia

Expert discusses technical considerations of using ammonia as marine fuel

Ammonia as bunker fuel poses significant safety challenges due to its toxicity and flammability, says Senior Marine Surveyor Muammer Akturk.

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Technical considerations of ammonia as marine fuel

Muammer Akturk, a Senior Marine Surveyor specialising in alternative bunker fuels, on Monday (10 June) published an article on technical considerations of using ammonia as a marine fuel in his Alternative Marine Fuels Newsletter.

The article dives into the use of ammonia as a marine fuel, focusing on the safety and technical considerations necessary for its implementation.

Ammonia is recognised for its potential as a zero-carbon fuel, making it an attractive option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry. However, it poses significant safety challenges due to its toxicity and flammability.

Key points discussed include:

  1. Safety Measures: The importance of stringent design and operational safety measures to prevent ammonia releases and mitigate risks during both normal and emergency conditions is emphasized. This includes the need for gas dispersion analyses and the use of safety systems like gas detectors and alarms
  2. Regulatory Framework: The article reviews the latest regulations and guidelines developed to ensure the safe use of ammonia as a marine fuel. This includes the IACS Unified Requirement H1, which provides a framework for controlling ammonia releases on vessels
  3. Engineering Considerations: Technical aspects such as fuel storage, handling systems, and the role of risk assessments in identifying potential hazards and implementing preventive measures are detailed
  4. Human Factors: The article also considers the human factors approach to safety, emphasizing training and the importance of designing systems that account for human errorOverall, the article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges and solutions associated with using ammonia as a marine fuel, highlighting the importance of safety and regulatory compliance in its adoption.

Editor’s note: The full article can be found at the link here.

 

Published: 13 June 2024

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Methanol

Green Marine Fuels Trading, Vopak team up on green methanol port storage facilities

Green Marine Fuels revealed a strategic collaboration with Vopak to secure necessary port storage to accommodate green methanol supply in Shanghai, Tianjin and later in Singapore.

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Green Marine Fuels Trading, Vopak team up on green methanol port storage facilities

Green Marine Fuels Trading on Tuesday (11 June) announced a strategic collaboration with Royal Vopak Terminals in the key ports of Shanghai Caojing and Tianjin Lingang, China. 

The firm said the milestone agreement marked the next phase of methanol supply chain infrastructure expansion for Green Marine Fuels Trading, securing necessary port storage capacity to accommodate projected supply of green methanol from Chinese business partners.  

Green Marine will be undertaking a similar cooperation plan with Vopak Singapore as well. 

Gavin McGrath, Director at Green Marine, said: “This is an important milestone in the evolution of Green Marine Fuels Trading and further underscores our preparedness to supply green methanol to the imminent green transition within the shipping industry.” 

“Our leadership in the global methanol marine fuel sector uniquely positions us to bridge the gap between methanol producers and buyers, with storage and supply infrastructure being a crucial link in the chain.”

“We eagerly anticipate leveraging our expertise in these domains to enrich the Shanghai and Tianjin green port and marine fuel ecosystems.”

Manifold Times previously reported Vopak signing a strategic cooperation agreement with the Vice Mayor of Tianjin delegation to support the repurposing of Vopak Tianjin's infrastructure for new energies, including green methanol, sustainable aviation fuel, and potentially ammonia and liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC).

Vopak said Tianjin Port Group will work closely with Vopak to develop a green methanol bunkering service solution.

Related: Tianjin Port Group and Vopak partner to develop green methanol bunkering service

 

Photo credit: Green Marine Group
Published: 12 June 2024

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