Canadian fertiliser giant Nutrien and Belgian gas shipowner Exmar will co-operate to develop and build a low-carbon, ‘blue’ ammonia-fuelled vessel
Through the joint effort, the two partners aim to advance their common goals of supporting the decarbonisation of shipping and IMO’s greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy of reducing emissions.
By using an ammonia-fuelled ship, the partners want to “significantly reduce Nutrien’s maritime transportation emissions,” said the companies in a press statement. The two companies plan to “chart a clear path for wide adoption of low-carbon ammonia as a clean fuel for the maritime industry.”
In March, Exmar gained an approval in principle from Lloyd’s Register for an ammonia-fuelled, 40,000-m3 midsize gas carrier. The ship design was supplied by China’s Jiangnan Shipyard and ammonia gas supply system by Wärtsilä.
Under their agreement, Nutrien and Exmar will collaborate on the selection of an ammonia engine and supply system manufacturer, shipbuilder, use of Nutrien’s existing low-carbon ammonia supply from its facility in Geismar, Louisiana as a fuel and deployment of an ammonia-fuelled vessel by 2025.
Big board-listed Nutrien has been pursuing the development of low-carbon ammonia for more than a decade, and has approximately 1M tonnes of production capability through its Redwater and Joffre Alberta operations, and its Geismar plant which employs carbon capture and sequestration technology to reduce the carbon intensity of its ammonia for use as a maritime fuel.
“Nutrien is excited to partner with Exmar on our shared journey to drive transformative reductions in maritime emissions,” said Nutrien executive vice president and chief executive of nitrogen and phosphate Raef Sully. “This initiative demonstrates how we are taking action to achieve our Feeding the Future Plan’s 2030 sustainability commitments, which include investing in low-carbon ammonia innovations.”
With ready access to low-cost US natural gas, Nutrien has the capacity to produce about 200,000 tonnes of low-carbon ‘blue’ ammonia using CCS technology at its Geismar facility.
Exmar said that compared with conventional fuels, the use of Nutrien’s existing low-carbon ammonia will achieve a reduction of GHG emissions of up to 40%. Emissions reductions of up to 70% can be achieved with the development of low-carbon ammonia using proven, scalable, best available technology and permanent sequestration of CO2.
“Exmar has always strived to contribute to innovations and increase efficiencies in gas logistics and transportation,” said Exmar executive director of shipping Jens Ismar.
Exmar was the first to use LPG as a fuel in 2012 and has two LPG-powered, dual-fuel very large gas carriers on order. “The development of an ammonia-fuelled vessel together with our long-standing partner Nutrien is an exciting and logical next step for us,” he added.
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