Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems Co., and Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd. have signed contracts to build the world’s first ammonia-fuelled medium gas carrier (AFMGC) powered by Japan-made engines.
In October 2021, Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) selected the four companies for its Green Innovation Fund Project, and together with Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK), a partner organisation, the five parties (the Consortium) have been working on “a demonstration project for the commercialisation of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fuelled engine.”
Under the tagline “Changing the future of the sea and the future with Japanese technology,” Japan’s marine sector is reportedly gearing up to lead the globe with the AFMGC, which is scheduled to be completed in November 2026.
To achieve net-zero emissions in international shipping, the transition from traditional fossil fuels to appropriate next-generation fuels is critical.
Since ammonia does not release carbon dioxide (CO2) during combustion, it is predicted to be a next-generation fuel that helps to reduce global warming.
The Consortium’s research and construction of the AFMGC will contribute to the practical use of ammonia-powered ships.
Ammonia, which has historically been largely used for fertiliser and other chemical raw material uses, is planned to be utilised for co-firing in thermal power plants and as a hydrogen carrier. Demand for ammonia is also predicted to expand fast in Japan and internationally.
At the same time, demand for ammonia production and maritime transportation will also expand and an ammonia value chain is projected to be developed successively.
NYK thinks that establishing a cleaner, less environmentally damaging ammonia value chain is important to attaining a decarbonised society, hence the Consortium will endeavour to finish and popularise the AFMGC and additional ammonia-fuelled ammonia carriers.
This month, NYK revealed plans to conduct comprehensive trials throughout fiscal year 2024, focusing on the extended use of biofuels for the navigation of its current fleet of heavy oil-fired vessels.