Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The Search to Find a Safe Way to Bunker the New Generation Marine Fuels Takes a Step Forward

Classification Society Joins with Other Groups to Solve Inherent Problems
Shipping News Feature

NORWAY – SINGAPORE – With the search intensifying to find the cleanest and most economical way of achieving the cut back in greenhouse gas emissions the whole ocean fleet is aiming to achieve, classification society DNV has been selected to lead an ammonia bunkering safety study by the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) in Singapore.

Singapore, generally recognised as the world’s largest bunkering hub and busiest container port, has commissioned the study to define a robust set of safety guidelines and operational envelopes that will establish the basis of a ‘regulatory sandbox’ for ammonia bunkering trials at two local sites. To that end, DNV will team up with Singaporean infrastructure developer Surbana Jurong and the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA).

DNV’s work scope will comprise ammonia demand forecasting, bunkering site recommendations, the development of conceptual designs of bunkering modes like truck to ship or ship to ship, HAZID/HAZOP/QRA studies, as well as drafting of technical and operational guidelines. In response to the growing industry interest for ammonia fuelled and ammonia ready ship designs, DNV says it has already undertaken many trailblazing projects in the development of ammonia as a viable future marine fuel.

DNV’s ‘Fuel ready’ notation was launched as an industry first in April 2021 by Höegh Autoliners in their new series of car carriers. The notation verifies that a vessel complies with the safety and operational requirements for future ammonia fuelled operations, and that the main engine can be converted or operated on the fuel.

For ship owners looking to move towards a full zero-carbon fuel option with their next newbuilding, DNV’s claims its new ‘Gas fuelled ammonia’ rules provide a practical path. Further adding to this work, DNV has awarded several Approvals in Principle for ammonia fuelled ship designs, while also cooperating with engine maker MAN Energy Solutions on the safe development of a 2-stroke ammonia engine intended to be market-ready in 2024.

While ammonia is one the most promising fuels to decarbonise shipping, DNV research shows that a number of safety gaps hold the potential to disrupt the speed and success of the transition. Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime, comments:

“The safe handling of ammonia is one such gap which urgently needs to be closed, given the threat it poses to seafarers and ships unless properly managed. We are therefore thrilled to partner with Surbana Jurong and the Singapore Maritime Academy on this pioneering initiative, which we hope will lay the foundations for robust ammonia bunkering safety guidelines with industry wide applicability.”

According to its recent Maritime Forecast to 2050, DNV expects there will be demonstration projects for on board use of ammonia by 2025, paving the way for zero-carbon ships ready for commercial use by 2030. While the future fuel mix will be broad, DNV predicts that both ammonia and bio-based methanol are the most promising carbon-neutral fuels in the long run. Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, DNV Maritime’s Regional Manager South East Asia, Pacific and India concluded:

“Next to our broad practical experience, our research detailed in the ‘Ammonia as a marine fuel’ white paper shows that we are well equipped to undertake this ground breaking ammonia bunkering study. We highly welcome that Singapore as the world’s leading bunkering port is exploring ammonia as a viable ship fuel and are very happy to be selected to contribute to the pilot. Safety is the prerequisite for the successful and timely introduction of new fuels such as ammonia, hence joint research and development, testing and setting standards is crucial at this point.”

Photo: Vessels berthing off Singapore.