Thursday, February 25, 2021
Maritime Propulsion

January 19, 2021

New Suezmax Tanker is First Deemed Ammonia-fuel Ready

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An ABS-classed Suezmax tanker ordered by Avin International LTD, the first vessel of a potential order of three vessels, is to be the first ammonia-fuel ready vessel in the world.

The landmark 274-meter-long vessel is now under construction at China's New Times Shipbuilding Co., Ltd (NTS), with options for two further vessels. Currently conventionally fueled, the vessel complies with the ABS Ammonia Ready Level 1 requirements, indicating it is designed to be converted to run on ammonia in the future. All the ships in the project will also meet ABS LNG Fuel Ready Level 1 requirements.

Ammonia is gaining interest as a marine fuel because it is an energy carrier that does not contain carbon, and whose combustion therefore does not produce CO2. Similarly, its production from electricity doesn’t require a carbon-based source, while its production is infinitely scalable. And since large quantities of ammonia are already transported around the world, it is a well-established commodity with some 120 ports globally currently involved in its import/export and some with storage facilities. Thus, using ammonia to power ships would be a natural step with infrastructure already in place.

“It is a challenging time for shipowners looking to invest in modern vessels able to support fleet decarbonization objectives throughout their life span. ABS’ alternative fuel ready suite of guidance and qualification programs is designed to give owners the flexibility they need and help prepare for a future in which alternative fuels such as ammonia take a bigger role,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS Senior Vice President, Global Engineering and Technology. “Ammonia is a promising zero-carbon fuel that can help meet the IMO’s GHG reduction target for 2050. It offers shipowners and operators a zero-carbon tank-to-wake emissions profile but is not without challenges, not the least of which is the greater prescriptive requirements for containment and equipment than most of the other alternative fuels under consideration. ABS is leading the way in supporting the industry in development and application of ammonia as a marine fuel.”

“The shipowners, seeking early decarbonization of their fleet, which LNG fuel operations alone are not enough to fully achieve, have additionally invested in making the vessels ready for ammonia fuel. This currently appears to be one of the most widely available and most promising carbon neutral fuels for the future,” said Michael Androulakakis, Technical Manager of Avin International LTD.

“Ammonia ready is the selling point of our new generation of Suezmax series. In the future, more and more shipowners will request clean energy, and ammonia is undoubtedly the best choice,” said Chen Yajun, Sales Manager of NTS.

Ammonia Fuel Ready Level 1 indicates the vessel conforms to the requirements outlined in the ABS Guide for Gas and Other Low-Flashpoint Fuel Ready Vessels. This is part of a suite of industry guidance on alternative fuels developed by ABS, including support for the development of ammonia as a marine fuel. In October 2020, ABS published its Sustainability Whitepaper: Ammonia as Marine Fuel evaluating the challenges in design and operation of ammonia-fueled vessels. The whitepaper built on the research in the industry-leading outlook Setting the Course to Low Carbon Shipping: Pathways to Sustainable Shipping, which analyzed decarbonization pathways for the industry.


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