NYK to develop ammonia-fueled tugboat

Rotterdam, The Netherlands - October 22, 2016: NYK Eagle cargo container ship  of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha shipping company (or short NYK Line) leaving the port of Rotterdam in The Netherlands. Two tugboats are towing the ship out to open water. Huge overhead cranes in the background are unloading containers from vessels and putting new containers with cargo on board.

Japanese container shipping line Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) has signed a research and development agreement with IHI Power Systems and Nipon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) to develop and put to use the world’s first ammonia-fueled tugboat.

According to a statement, the companies will proceed with the research and development agreement from both “technical and operational aspects” for the introduction of ammonia as a marine fuel for tugboats.

NYK will research and design of the hull and fuel and supply system, IHI Power Systems will explore potential engine and exhaust designs and ClassNK will conduct a safety assessment of the tugboat.

The agreement envisions the implementation of ammonia marine fuel in tugboats that require high output and the parties said they will look to commercialise it in the future as Japan decarbonises its marine industry.

In a joint statement, the parties said: “Specifically, in fiscal 2020 we will tackle themes such as technological development of the hull, engine, and fuel supply system, and development of safety navigation methods.

“After evaluating the practicality of the R&D results, we will begin study of the construction of the ammonia-fueled tugboat and the plan for construction.”

Ammonia is free from CO2 is one of the fuels, along woth liquefied natural gas (LNG) that the marine industry is exploring as a means of cutting emissions and abiding by international regulations.

Furthermore, the research and development agreement builds on the progress the same three companies made when developing the LNG-fueled tugboat Sakigake, which was built in 2015 and was the first of its kind to run on a next-generation fuel.

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