Imabari Shipbuilding, MAN Energy Solutions, Mitsui, ClassNK  and ITOCHU have teamed up to jointly develop ships equipped with main engines that use ammonia as their main fuel.

In a statement issued last week, classification society ClassNK added: ‘The purpose of the joint agreement is not limited to the development of ships equipped with an ammonia-fuelled engine, but also extends to the question of owning and operating the ships, supplying ammonia fuel and developing ammonia supply facilities.

‘The consortium intends to promote initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) with the cooperation of domestic and overseas companies, as well as the relevant government agencies.’

Outlining the companies’ individual roles in the joint development, ClasNK said that Imabari will ‘develop and design the ship that mounts a series of systems practically and safely on board, such as an ammonia storage tank as a marine fuel, a fuel supply system, and a main engine’.

MAN Energy Solutions and Mitsui will work together to design  the ammonia-fuelled engines – and Mitsui will also ‘contribute to this project from a supplier’s point of view, verifying the safety and reliability of the entire life cycle of the propulsion system, including manufacturing and commissioning at the factory’.

ITOCHU will ‘lead the formation of partnerships in Japan and overseas by making use of networks with various industries / companies such as shipper, shipping company, ammonia producer and/or any other parties related to ammonia fuel supply chain, owning and operate ammonia-fuelled ships, and jointly developing a facility for supplying ammonia fuel for ships with ITOCHU ENEX’.

ClassNK, meanwhile, will ‘conduct a third-party safety assessment and contribute to this project based on the knowledge of expert safety evaluation and standard setting cultivated as a ship safety inspection organisation’.

This is the second announcement about a major cross-industry collaboration on developing ammonia as marine fuel. On 22 April, it was announced that a group of maritime companies had held a workshop in Copenhagen and were working together to ‘perform detailed risk studies to assess the technical feasibility and specific safety risks of ammonia fuelled ships with a view to considering its potential as a safe fuel for the decarbonisation of shipping’. MAN Energy Solutions was one of the participants in this project too – along with DFDS; Gaslog LNG Services; MOL; NYK; Star Bulk; Stena Teknik; Capital Ship Management; ENGIE; ShellAlfa Laval; Samsung Heavy Industries; C-Job Naval Architects; Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel (SGMF); Stolt Tankers; Exmar; CMB; Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT); and Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore.

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes