SEVERAL maritime industry heavyweights have signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a feasibility study on ship-to-ship ammonia bunkering at the Port of Singapore.

The signatories include A.P. Moller – Maersk, Fleet Management Limited, Keppel Offshore & Marine, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, Sumitomo Corporation and Yara International.

Because ammonia molecules (NH3) do not include carbon, they emit zero carbon dioxide when combusted. It is considered a promising alternative marine fuel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the shipping industry.

So-called green ammonia, which is produced from only renewable electricity, is particularly attractive as a more environmentally friendly fuel.

The ship-to-ship bunker study in Singapore is to cover the entire end-to-end supply chain of ammonia bunkering, which includes the development of a cost-effective green ammonia supply chain. The study will also include designing ammonia bunkering vessels and related supply-chain infrastructure.

The study partners said they would engage relevant government agencies and experts in Singapore to standardise safe operation and regulations.

The study will assess the supply of ammonia including potential synergies with LPG as a starting point. Considering the comparable requirements for mild refrigerated storage, vessels or barges initially designed for LPG can also handle brown, blue and green ammonia.

(blue ammonia, or carbon-neutral ammonia is made from natural gas while capturing the carbon dioxide made in the process and brown ammonia is conventional ammonia made from natural gas).

A.P. Moller – Maersk vice-president and head of decarbonisation Morten Bo Christiansen said Maersk sees green ammonia, alongside methanol, as an important fuel for the future decarbonisation of the Maersk fleet.

“A dual fuel ammonia engine is currently under development, but for green ammonia to fuel our vessels in the future we also have supply, infrastructure and safety related challenges to solve, not least when it comes to bunkering operations,” Mr Christiansen said.

“We are pleased to work with renowned companies in this field to pave the way for ammonia as a future fuel to decarbonise global shipping.”

Fleet Management managing director Kishore Rajvanshy said, “We are very pleased to support the development of the green transition pathway for our industry. We participate with our technical expertise across ship types to provide holistic solutions to sustainability, and alongside other alternative fuels such as methanol we feel ammonia will play a significant role”.

Keppel Offshore & Marine CEO Chris Ong said there are multiple routes to the decarbonisation of the marine industry.

“We are pleased to be able to leverage our expertise in engineering and bunkering to spearhead the development of cleaner marine fuels such as ammonia,” he said.

“This includes the design of ammonia bunkering and ammonia-powered vessels, as well as developing the value chain necessary for the adoption of ammonia.”

Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping CEON Bo Cerup-Simonsen said it is key to understand the complete lifecycle and safety implications of any future fuel across the supply chain.

“This project will address gaps in infrastructure and regulation and bring forward the solutions needed for safe operations and bunkering of ammonia in ports,” he said.

Sumitomo Corporation executive officer Hajime Mori said, “With this MoU, we embark on our ambition to build the world’s first Ship-to-Ship ammonia bunkering base, which highlight our commitment to offer our customers the best available and technologically proven solution to reduce the emission footprint from maritime transport”.

Yara Clean Ammonia executive vice-president Magnus Ankarstrand said, “Ammonia as energy carrier is an enabler of the energy transition and we recognize the need for value chain collaboration to make zero emission shipping by using ammonia as a fuel a reality”.

Maersk’s role is to provide input specific to container vessels and will work on development of safe and reliable bunkering procedures for ammonia.

Fleet Management is to work on the development of safe and reliable operating bunkering procedures for the alternative marine fuels from manning service provider’s point of view.

Keppel is to develop and design the new build ammonia bunkering vessel and ammonia-ready LPG bunkering vessel and lead in the co-ordination with relevant authorities in Singapore to establish port regulations and operational guidelines.

The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping will map all safety related topics in an ammonia maritime technology roadmap. Outcome of the bunkering study will be integrated in a techno-economic model including detailed understanding of end-to-end cost and Life Cycle Analysis.

Sumitomo is to structure, integrate and promote the end-to-end supply chain of green/blue/brown ammonia and LPG as the alternative marine fuels, which includes supply, transportation, storage and bunkering.

Yara is to lead in the feasibility evaluation of the supply of green/blue/brown ammonia to Singapore.