A group of companies led by Bureau Veritas that will study the possibility of using ammonia as a marine fuel have said specific focus will be placed on addressing the technical and safety challenges associated with the fuel’s use
In February, a group of companies led by Bureau Veritas (BV) participated in a hazard identification (HAZID) workshop in Copenhagen to identify the risks associated with using ammonia as a marine bunkering fuel.
Bureau Veritas said aspects of using ammonia are not covered by the existing regulatory framework, IMO’s International Code of Safety for Ships Using Gases or Other Low-flashpoint Fuels (the IGF Code), and require specific attention.
Bureau Veritas head of section, risk, reliability & maintenance, Diane Ruf said the HAZID workshop was carried out to identify the safety and operational hazards associated with using ammonia as fuel for a propulsion engine on board a VLCC.
“The study led to the identification of practical safeguards and recommendations which should be considered to lower the risks to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). It covered: NH3 storage space and bunker stations, NH3 fuel treatment room and HP fuel pump room (combined), engineroom (gas-safe), vent/safety system lines and vent mast and ship’s operations,” Ms Ruf said.
BV global technology leader for sustainable shipping, Panos Koutsourakis said ammonia is being considered as a marine fuel because it is a carrier for hydrogen which can be generated from renewable energy, adding “ammonia storage and transportation can, in principle, be managed with established technologies”.
However, ammonia has risks associated with it. The compound is toxic and corrosive.
“We need to understand if and how the associated risks can be managed to merit further practical and commercial development – especially confirming the potential for stable combustion and NOx emissions. Furthermore, potential availability is not yet assured. Sufficient availability of ’green’ ammonia would require the scalable development of ‘Power-to-X’ technologies to provide the volumes necessary for shipping,” Mr Koutsourakis said .
The group said it is considering its next steps and that further studies will be conducted, operational hazards will continue to be addressed and the group will be looking more deeply into conceptual designs for delivery systems based on different vessel types.
Ammonia is one of the more popular alternatives for potential use as a marine fuel in the future. In comparison with conventional fossil fuels, ammonia is less energy dense, and would be liquefied at sub-zero temperatures and stored at atmospheric pressure for use as a marine fuel.
In addition to Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore, the group’s membership include DFDS, Gaslog LNG Services Ltd, MOL, NYK, Star Bulk, Stena Teknik, Capital Ship Management Corp, Engie, Shell International Trading and Shipping Company, MAN Energy Solutions, Alfa Laval, Samsung Heavy Industries, C-Job Naval Architects, Society for Gas as a Marine Fuel, Stolt Tankers, Exmar, CMB, and Gaztransport & Technigaz.