RINA and SDARI to develop methanol, ammonia-fuelled tanker design

Classification society RINA and the Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute (SDARI) have signed a Joint Development Project Agreement to develop a ship design capable of being fuelled by either ammonia or methanol.

Within the Agreement, SDARI will focus on the ship concept development and design while RINA will verify the compliance with the applicable rules, including those for the use of alternative fuels.

The selected ship type is a tanker but the project, which RINSA says is the first to investigate using both methanol and ammonia in this type of vessel, is expected to increase understanding of the application of both fuels within the shipping industry with opportunities to apply designs to different types of ships.

External support to the project will be provided by MAN Energy Solutions.

‘A ship specifically designed and optimised for using ammonia and methanol as fuels offers a future proof, environmentally sustainable solution,’ said Giosuè Vezzuto, Executive Vice President Marine at RINA. ‘This is an important milestone within the RINA set of initiatives on innovation and energy transition towards the compliance with IMO 2030 and IMO 2050.’

Vezzuto added: ‘We are pleased to join forces with SDARI and believe this project will benefit the whole shipping industry, releasing the potential of both ammonia and methanol.’

Wang Gang Yi, Vice President of SDARI, said: ‘SDARI will always invest important resources into R&D, producing more efficient ship concepts and designs and using innovative energy sources. We are pleased to be working with RINA on our common goals to provide increasingly reliable design solutions to meet the emissions targets set by IMO for 2030 and 2050.’

Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President and Head of R&D, Two-Stroke Business at MAN Energy Solutions Copenhagen, added: ‘While two-stroke engine technology will likely retain its influence within deep-sea shipping for the foreseeable future, ammonia and methanol are fuels with a lot of potential as clean, zero-carbon fuels and with whom we have a lot of experience. We look forward to adding our expertise to the project.’

As previously reported, in December 2019, SDARI and MAN Energy Solutions, along with class society ABS, announced they were to partner on developing designs for a low-emission 2,700 TEU Chittagongmax feeder container vessel.

Last week, Jakob Steffensen, Head of Innovation and Technology at DFDS, called ammonia an ‘attractive’ alternative fuel. Steffensen said the fuel, which when generated by renewable energy sources, has no carbon footprint and emits almost no CO2, SOx or particulate matter when burned in engines, ‘very scalable’.

Earlier this week, Maersk CEO Soren Skou revealed ammonia and methanol are on the Danish shipping giant’s radar.

Rhys Berry

Rhys Berry