Thursday, October 14, 2021

Fellow Countrymen Tie Up Partnership for First Ever Retrofit of Ammonia Fuel System

Offshore Supply Vessel Will Be Testbed for Future Technology
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY – With a global search underway to find any possible substitute marine fuel to replace traditional heavy oil, technology group Wärtsilä and Norwegian ship owner Eidesvik Offshore ASA have signed a landmark cooperation agreement aimed at converting an offshore supply vessel (OSV) to operate with an ammonia-fuelled combustion engine

The project is claimed as a world first with a provisional completion target by the end of 2023. The retrofit will include the required fuel supply and safety system to replace the existing LNG fuelled propulsion. The conversion will initially allow the vessel to operate with a 70% ammonia blend, something Wärtsilä has already successfully laboratory tested.

The ultimate goal is to achieve operation with 100% ammonia and with a minimum ignition fuel requirement. As a fuel, ammonia has the potential to drastically reduce emissions of CO2. Both Wärtsilä and Eidesvik have stated their commitment to supporting the industry’s efforts to decarbonise their operations. Hans Petter Nesse, Managing Director of Wärtsilä Norway said:

“Collaborating with Eidesvik on this ground breaking project is an exciting and important step towards carbon-free shipping. Naturally we are also working with classification societies on measures to ensure safe and environmentally sustainable use.

”We are already well advanced in the development of ammonia as a viable marine fuel, and are actively working on other future carbon-free fuels as well. Our strong in-house competences are very much being utilised to support our commitment to decarbonising shipping.”

Eidesvik has a strong track record in supporting sustainable innovations, having used LNG fuel in its fleet from as early as 2003, and fuel cells from 2006. The company believes that to achieve the industry’s decarbonisation targets, not only new builds will need to have the appropriate technologies, but existing vessels must also be retrofitted accordingly. Furthermore, prolonging the life of existing assets requires less capital and is less energy-intensive than building new ones. CEO & President, Jan Fredrik Meling commented:

“Using ammonia as a fuel is seen as a key future contributor to shipping’s energy transition, and we’re excited to be the first offshore ship owner taking this step. This project is yet another confirmation of our strong reputation as a pioneer in implementing new environmental technologies in both new builds and the existing fleet.”

This ammonia conversion project also ties in with one of the ongoing work streams of the Wärtsilä-led Zero Emissions Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) project, aimed at developing ammonia-powered new builds and converting suitable existing vessels. Wärtsilä and Eidesvik are also partners in the EU-funded ShipFC project to equip a platform supply vessel, the Viking Energy with a 2MW fuel cell running on green ammonia. The installation is scheduled to take place in late 2023.

Photo: Wärtsilä and Eidesvik personnel leading the ammonia conversion project. From left Jan Lodden, COO, Eidesvik Offshore; Hans-Petter Nesse, Managing Director, Wärtsilä Norway; Gitte Gard Talmo, CCO, Eidesvik Offshore and Cato Esperø, Head of Sales, Wärtsilä Norway.