Fortescue Carries out the First-Ever Ammonia Fuel Trial Worldwide

Fortescue Carries out the First-Ever Ammonia Fuel Trial Worldwide

Posted on Apr 13, 2024 at 11:04 PM

In a pioneering move that could reshape the future of marine transportation, Fortescue, a leading entity in the mining and technology sector, has marked a significant milestone. Utilising its Fortescue Green Pioneer vessel, the company has, for the first time, successfully harnessed ammonia in combination with diesel as a combustion fuel. This groundbreaking endeavour occurred after meticulous preparations, including land-based tests in 2023 and a prominent demonstration at COP28 in Dubai, UAE.

Initially modified at Seatrium's Benoi yard in July of the previous year, the Green Pioneer was equipped to operate two of its four engines on a novel blend of ammonia and diesel. This conversion enabled the vessel to employ the innovative fuel mix during its voyage in the Port of Singapore, marking a historic moment in maritime navigation.

Fortescue Carries out the First-Ever Ammonia Fuel Trial Worldwide

Harnessing Ammonia for a Cleaner Tomorrow

Dr Andrew Forrest, Fortescue's chairman, expressed enthusiasm about the project, highlighting the Fortescue Green Pioneer as tangible proof of viable, safe ammonia power solutions. Vopak supported the venture, supplying five cubic meters of liquid ammonia for the tests conducted at Banyan Terminal on Jurong Island, ensuring resources for future experiments.

During a seven-week trial, the ship achieved flag certification from the Singapore Registry of Ships and a unique “gas-fueled ammonia” notation from DNV, a classification society. This certification confirms the vessel's compliance and safety in utilising ammonia alongside diesel. Moreover, the crew underwent specialised training for hazardous materials handling and participated in safety drills orchestrated by the MPA (Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore).

The environmental implications of this trial are noteworthy. Post-combustion nitrogen oxide levels adhered to local air quality standards, aligning with ongoing efforts to mitigate N2O emissions and utilise lower greenhouse gas sources. This achievement underscores the potential of ammonia-fueled engines to contribute significantly to maritime decarbonisation.

Teo Eng Dih, MPA's chief executive, emphasised the trial's role in supporting a comprehensive evaluation of ammonia as a marine fuel, fostering the development of related standards and safety protocols. Chris Ong, CEO of Seatrium, lauded the successful engine conversion as a critical step towards a greener maritime future.

Fortescue's initiative is not an isolated effort but part of a broader industry trend towards adopting ammonia, a promising green fuel, to achieve net-zero emissions in the maritime sector. Companies like Ocean Network Express are advancing ship designs for ammonia operation, while innovators such as Anastasija Kuprijanova of Amogy explore ammonia-cracking technologies, broadening the spectrum of sustainable fuel applications.

This pioneering voyage by Fortescue not only demonstrates the viability of ammonia as a marine fuel but also propels the maritime industry towards a more sustainable and greener horizon, setting a precedent for future endeavours in the quest for environmental preservation.


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