Ammonia-fueled Tugboat Project Launched
By Jack Burke08 September 2020
Japanese shipping company NYK, IHI Power Systems and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) signed a joint research and development agreement to put the world’s first ammonia-fueled tugboat into practical use.
With the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in 2016, global momentum for decarbonization has increased, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions has become an issue in the shipping sector, the companies said. In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set a goal of halving GHG emissions from the international shipping sector by 2050 and reaching a target of zero as early as the end of this century. Since carbon dioxide (CO2) is not emitted when ammonia is burned, it is viewed to have promise as a next-generation fuel that could mitigate shipping’s impact on global warming.
In addition, it is said that zero emissions can be realized by utilizing CO2-free hydrogen as a raw material for ammonia. Thus, the companies have decided to start this joint R&D for an ammonia-fueled tugboat. In fact, the companies worked together to jointly develop the LNG-fueled tugboat Sakigake, which was built in 2015 as Japan’s first ship fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG). In this new joint R&D project, we will utilize the knowledge cultivated in the development, construction, and operation of the vessel.
The companies will proceed with R&D from both technical and operational aspects for the introduction of ammonia as a marine fuel for tugboats.
Specifically, in fiscal 2020 the companies will address topics 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, the companies will begin study of the construction of the ammonia-fueled tugboat and the plan for construction.