Japanese Motor Company
IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd.
Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd.
September 7, 2022
Ammonia Fueled Ammonia Gas Carrier Obtained AiP of
Classification society ClassNK
- To get close to zero-emission ships with risk assessment for the world’s first approval of an alternative design —
On September 7, NYK Line, Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd. and Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd. (the “Consortium”) have received Approval in Principle (AiP) from ClassNK for an ammonia fueled ammonia gas. carrier (AFAGC).
Currently, there are no international regulations regarding the use of ammonia as a marine fuel. Therefore, the Consortium has conducted research and development to ensure that the AFAGC has the same safety features as vessels using existing fuel oil or LNG (liquefied natural gas).
The Consortium conducted a HAZID* risk assessment of the safety of using ammonia as a marine fuel in anticipation of obtaining approval for an alternative design,** required to carry out a demonstration operation at during fiscal year 2026. The Consortium then received an AiP from Japan’s ClassNK company after concluding that safety can be assured. This is the first time that a risk assessment has been conducted and an AiP has been obtained not only for a concept but also for an alternative design.
Context of AFAGC development
Since ammonia does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) when burned it is expected to be a next generation fuel that contributes to global warming
measures and should be in demand for mass transportation in the future. In addition, by transporting ammonia as cargo and using it as fuel during travel, it will be possible to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during travel.
This initiative is the development of domestically produced ammonia-powered engine vessels, which was launched in October 2021 by NYK, Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd. and Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd. as part of the Green Innovation Fund Project*** of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
With the aim of an early social implementation of next-generation fuel-powered ships, the consortium is developing (a) an ammonia-fueled two-stroke engine for ship propulsion, (b) a four-stroke fuel-powered engine ammonia for onboard power supply, and (c) a safe and environmentally friendly hull. The Consortium is working together to study the feasibility of building and commercially operating the prototype vessel in an integrated manner.
Basic prototype ship design completed and AiP obtained
The main design issues when using ammonia as a fuel during development are as follows.
- It is necessary to burn ammonia stably and run the engine while increasing the mixed combustion rate of ammonia, which is hardly flammable and low energy density.
- Since the combustion of ammonia generates nitrous oxide (N2O: about 300 times the warming potential of CO2) instead of CO2it is necessary to control the combustion to suppress the generation of nitrous oxide.
- A design to prevent toxic ammonia leaks and adequate safety measures in the event of a leak are necessary. Safety measures based on risk assessments are necessary to ensure the same level of safety as conventional ships.
The consortium established the development shell design for this project to
be an MGC (medium gas carrier, ammonia cargo capacity: approximately 38,000 cubic meters or more), which is currently of a common size for marine ammonia transportation, and have developed and selected main and auxiliary engines and on-board equipment while securing an ammonia load capacity equivalent to or greater than that of conventional ships. The Consortium has completed the design of a prototype vessel that can cope with the above issues through the safe and convenient installation of ammonia fuel related equipment in the limited space available in the vessel. The layout of the equipment has been designed and the consortium will work on further optimizing the design.
Handover ceremony (Gastech2022, Milan, Italy)
From left to right, Tetsuya Yamamoto, General Manager, Japan Engine Corporation: Yoshinori Maeta, President, Nihon Shipyard
Co., Ltd. : Akira Kono, Senior Managing Director, NYK Line : Hayato Suga, Executive Vice President, ClassNK : Yasuo Kino, General Manager, Niigata Powers Systems (Europe) BV
※Face masks were removed just before the photo.
* HAZID: Hazard Identification Study
HAZID is a safety assessment method that assesses the impact of new structures and systems on human life, property safety and the environment by identifying items based on potential risks, assuming various scenarios.
** Approval of an alternative design
This is the process of obtaining approval from the competent authorities for the design of a ship for which no international regulations have yet been established by proving that the design is equivalent to the safety requirements of existing international regulations. The use of ammonia as marine fuel in ammonia carriers currently deviates from the provisions of the SOLAS convention (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea). On the other hand, if the design is equivalent to the safety requirements of the relevant chapters of the IGC Code (International code for the construction and equipment of ships carrying liquefied gases in bulk) based on the SOLAS convention, it is possible to design a ship to use ammonia as marine fuel. Now that the four companies have obtained the AiP for AFAGC, the parties will work on a more detailed design and aim to obtain approval for an alternative design before construction of the vessel begins.
*** Green Innovation Fund Project
A 2 trillion yen fund established in NEDO to dramatically accelerate current efforts such as structural transformation of the energy and industrial sector and innovation through bold investments towards carbon neutrality by 2050. The fund provides support continuous from R&D and demonstration to social implementation for up to 10 years. years for companies that share ambitious and concrete objectives with the public and private sectors and approach them as management issues. NEDO provides support mainly in 14 priority areas for which action plans are being developed in the green growth strategy.
Related press release
October 26, 2021, “Beginning of the demonstration project for the commercialization of ships equipped with ammonia fueled engine of national production”
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