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Study: Ammonia-powered ships could be deployed on West Australia-East Asia iron ore routes by 2028

Research indicates core elements for implementation of a West Australia-East Asia green corridor are within reach, provided that the safety case for use of ammonia as bunker fuel is validated and accepted.

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A new study from the West Australia – East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor Consortium finds that ships powered by clean ammonia could be deployed on the iron ore trade routes between West Australia and East Asia by 2028 and reach 5% adoption by 2030, according to the Global Maritime Forum and its partners on Monday (15 May). 

The study is based on analysis by the Energy Transitions Commission, on behalf of the West Australia – East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor Consortium, a collaboration between the Global Maritime Forum, BHP, Rio Tinto, Oldendorff Carriers, and Star Bulk Carriers.

Green corridors, specific trade routes where zero-emission shipping solutions are demonstrated and supported, are one of the key levers to aid the shipping industry and governments in the decarbonisation of the maritime sector. 

The study indicates that the core elements for implementation of a West Australia-East Asia green corridor – including deployment of ammonia-powered ships, access to clean ammonia (as the most likely zero-emission fuel to power the corridor), and the availability of bunkering infrastructure – are within reach, provided that the safety case for the use of ammonia as marine fuel is validated and accepted.

Findings suggest that it is possible to get clean ammonia-powered bulk carriers on the water by 2028, provided the development of key technologies, such as suitable engines, and regulations remain on track. Enough clean ammonia will likely be available to meet the corridor’s near and long-term requirements. Should production scale up as expected, the corridor’s demand could be fully met by Australian clean ammonia but could also be imported from other production locations globally. The study also shows that the Pilbara region of Australia is a viable option for bunkering on the route, avoiding costly deviations from the trade route, whilst Singapore remains well-positioned to serve as a bunkering hub.

Should the corridor develop in accordance with the scenario in the analysis, more than 20 vessels could operate on clean ammonia on the corridor by 2030, scaling up to roughly 360 vessels by 2050.

Johannah Christensen, CEO of the Global Maritime Forum, said: ‘’The study demonstrates the industry’s keen interest to decarbonise their supply chain in the region. What is needed now to accelerate the development of this green corridor is public sector support.’’

While the opportunity to develop a West Australia-East Asia green corridor is within reach, the study also outlined important conditions that must be in place for it to be successfully developed, including continued collaboration and coordinated action through the corridor’s value chain and the development of appropriate commercial frameworks. In parallel with this study, the Getting to Zero Coalition has established an Australia-East Asia Iron Ore Corridor Task Force to act as a collaborative industry forum to explore these issues.

The study reinforced the corridor’s potential to be a first mover in shipping’s decarbonisation and builds on the previously published pre-feasibility report, which identified the iron ore shipping routes from West Australia to China and Japan as having favourable conditions for early action and the potential to have a large impact on the decarbonisation of the sector.

Rashpal Bhatti, Vice President Maritime and Supply Chain Excellence at BHP, said: “Through this collaboration with the Global Maritime Forum and the consortium members, BHP is pleased to see that the rigorous, data-led analysis of this study indicates the feasibility of using clean ammonia on vessels sailing through the West Australia to East Asia corridor.”

“In line with our net zero ambitions, we seek to influence this supply chain, with our ecosystem partners, by creating demand for low- and zero-GHG emission fuels and energy efficient vessels.”

Laure Baratgin, Head of Commercial Operations at Rio Tinto, said: “The West Australia – East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor represents a great opportunity to aggregate green fuel demand and supply in support of the industry’s journey towards net-zero in this major trade lane. As we build on the study to realise a safe and economic green shipping corridor, public-private partnership is key to bring this project to life. Rio Tinto remains committed to collaborating with value chain partners in support of this initiative as we work to deliver our climate commitments on shipping.”

Note: The full ‘Fuelling the Decarbonisation of Iron Ore Shipping between West Australia and East Asia using Clean Ammonia: Green Shipping Corridor Feasibility Study’ report can be found here.

 

Photo credit: Global Maritime Forum
Published: 18 May, 2023

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Ammonia

HD KSOE receives Lloyd’s Register AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet, says LR.

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HD KSOE receives LR AiP for ammonia fuel supply system

Classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) has granted Approval in Principle (AiP) to HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (HD KSOE) for their ammonia fuel supply system, which will be used on ammonia new constructions.

The newly developed ammonia fuel supply system shows complete compatibility with high-efficiency cargo handling systems and ammonia engines.

The approval certifies the fuel supply system against LR’s rigorous risk-based certification (RBC-1) process and marks the successful conclusion of a Joint Development Project (JDP) between LR and HD KSOE, which began in April 2024.

The primary objective of the JDP was to develop and refine the design concept of an ammonia fuel supply system for ammonia-fuelled vessels.

LR said the AiP represents the substantial step that LR and HD KSOE have taken towards pioneering innovative solutions for emission reduction in the maritime industry.

“Ammonia, with its capacity to meet the rising demand for emission reduction solutions, represents a promising alternative fuel for the maritime industry,” it said.

“This fuel supply system addresses the pressing need for sustainable fuel solutions, significantly contributing to efforts aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the global fleet.”  

Young-Doo Kim, Global Technical Support Office Representative for Korea, Lloyd’s Register, said: “This approval in principle represents another significant step for developing the technology required for shipowners and operators' adoption of ammonia, one of the primary candidate fuels for the maritime energy transition.”

“We are pleased to continue our strong working relationship with HD KSOE through this joint project that will provide a valuable solution for ammonia propelled ships.”

Young-jun Nam, Vice Present & COO of HD KSOE, said: “Ammonia is a zero-carbon fuel that is attracting great attention in terms of economics and supply stability. HD Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering will lead the field of eco-friendly equipment and materials to take the lead in commercialising ammonia in 2025.”

 

Photo credit: Lloyd’s Register
Published: 25 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Vessel, which is the latest contribution to the Vinga-series, has dual-fuel capability, runs on LNG/LBG or gasoil and is fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.

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Erik Thun takes delivery of LNG dual-fuel tanker “Thun Vettern”

Shipping firm Erik Thun on Monday (24 June) said it has taken delivery of Thun Vettern, a 17,999-dwt vessel, which was built by China Merchants Jinling Shipyard in Yangzhou.

The vessel is an upgraded version of the sister Thun Venern. Thun Vettern is the latest contribution to the “Vinga-series”, all trading within the Gothia Tanker Alliance. The Thun Vettern is the newest and latest edition to the Vinga-series and she has ice class 1A. 

The vessels in the Vinga-series all have dual-fuel capability, run on LNG/LBG or gasoil and are fully equipped for shore power connection when available in ports.

They are designed with a battery hybrid solution and several innovative features that reduce fuel and energy consumption, resulting in extensively lowered emissions of CO2, sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide and hazardous particles. 

The firm said the ships have scored the best Energy Efficiency Design Index or EEDI value in their segment globally, meaning that they are the most energy efficient vessels according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

The Vinga-series is designed for the intense and demanding trade in the North Sea and Scandinavia, well suited to meet the growing European demand for biofuels and renewable feedstocks.

Erik Thun´s close partner Furetank will technically and commercially manage the new vessel which upon delivery will enter into the Gothia Tanker Alliance network.

“Sustainability work has always been and will be a focus ahead for Erik Thun. To take delivery of a resource efficient, top performing product tanker like Thun Vettern, and further deepen our good and long-term co-operation with Furetank is a great example of our vision to be a sustainable Swedish partner over generations,” said Johan Källsson, Managing Director at Erik Thun AB.

 

Photo credit: Erik Thun
Published: 25 June, 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Wärtsilä on LNG bunker fuel: Expert answers to 17 important questions

Firm gives an expert overview on top questions on LNG bunker fuel including if LNG is a future fuel and what does LNG being a transition fuel means.

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RESIZED Chris Pagan

Technology group Wärtsilä on Wednesday (19 June) gave an expert overview on top 17 questions related to LNG bunker fuel in this insight article including if LNG is a future fuel: 

Your choice of fuel affects both your profitability and your vessel’s environmental compliance. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is a safe and cost-effective fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful pollutants. LNG is playing a key role as a transition fuel and is widely seen as the first step towards decarbonising the maritime industry.

Switching to LNG as fuel for ship propulsion requires investment but can save you fuel costs, increase your profitability and reduce compliance risks. The expert answers to these 17 questions will tell you what you need to know about LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping.

What is LNG?

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to -162°C (-260°F), turning it into a clear, odourless liquid that is easy to ship and store. LNG is typically 85–95% methane, which contains less carbon than other forms of fossil fuels. It is a compact, efficient form of energy that is ideal for ship propulsion.

What is LNG used for?

LNG is primarily used as a clean-burning energy source. It is used for electricity generation, heating, cooking, and as a transportation fuel. LNG is also used as a raw material for products like fertilisers and plastics.

In the shipping industry, LNG as fuel is used for ship propulsion, auxiliary power generation and other onboard energy needs. LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping has gained wide popularity due to its clean-burning properties and potential to help meet stricter emissions regulations.

What are the sources of LNG as fuel for ships? What is bioLNG?

LNG as fuel for ships is produced from natural gas extracted from underground reserves, including both onshore and offshore gas fields.

BioLNG is LNG produced from biogas, which is generated from organic waste like food scraps, agricultural waste, manure and sewage sludge. BioLNG is considered a renewable fuel and can further reduce the carbon footprint of ships using LNG fuel systems.

 Is LNG just methane?

LNG is primarily methane (typically 85–95%), but it also contains small amounts of ethane, propane and other hydrocarbons. LNG can also contain trace amounts of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The exact composition of LNG may vary depending on the source of the natural gas and the liquefaction process used.

 LNG fuel vs. fuel oil: is LNG better than diesel?

Compared to diesel fuel oil, LNG offers several advantages. LNG produces significantly lower emissions when burned, including:

  • 20–30% less CO2 
  • 15-25% less total GHG
  • 90% less NOx 
  • 99% less SOx 
  • Almost no particulate matter (PM) 

LNG engines are also quieter. 

However, LNG has a lower energy density than diesel, so using LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping will require more fuel and therefore larger fuel tanks to achieve the same range.

 What are the advantages and disadvantages of LNG fuel?

The key advantages of LNG as fuel include reduced emissions and cost competitiveness. There is also an established and continuously growing global network of LNG bunkering facilities.

The disadvantages of using LNG as fuel for ships include the need for specialised equipment and training and the potential for methane slip.

Methane slip is when unburned methane, a potent greenhouse gas, escapes into the atmosphere. Modern dual-fuel engines will minimise this issue. Depending on engine type and load, you can reduce methane slip by up to 65% by upgrading your ship’s existing engines. Over the last 30 years, Wärtsilä has reduced the methane slip from its engines by around 90%.

 Is LNG environmentally friendly?

LNG is cleaner burning than traditional marine fuels, but it is still a fossil fuel. BioLNG, which is LNG produced from organic waste or biomass, can be considered a more sustainable alternative to fossil-based LNG as it has a lower carbon footprint. However, the production and combustion of bioLNG still emit some greenhouse gases. LNG can be seen as a bridging fuel in the transition to alternative fuels like methanol and ammonia, which aren’t yet widely available at scale.

 Is LNG a future fuel?

LNG both is and isn’t a future fuel. It enables lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduces other harmful air pollutants compared to fuel oil, but it is still a fossil fuel. Sustainable future fuels are crucial for maritime decarbonisation, but the current cost, limited availability and insufficient infrastructure are challenging for operators. This gives LNG an important role to play in the shipping industry’s transition to a zero-carbon future.

As more ports develop LNG bunkering infrastructure and more ships are built with LNG fuel systems, the use of LNG as an alternative fuel for shipping is expected to increase. LNG is considered a stepping stone on the path to decarbonisation as the industry moves closer to using true future fuels such as methanol and ammonia.

Note: The full article by Wärtsilä can be found here.

 

Photo credit: Chris Pagan on Unsplash
Published: 24 June, 2024

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