Fortescue Hits Milestone in Ammonia-Diesel Marine Fuel Trial
Fortescue Hits Milestone in Ammonia-Diesel Marine Fuel Trial

Fortescue Hits Milestone in Ammonia-Diesel Marine Fuel Trial

  • 18-Mar-2024 2:19 PM
  • Journalist: Emilia Jackson

In a collaborative effort involving Fortescue, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), governmental bodies, research institutions, and industry partners, a significant milestone has been achieved with the successful implementation of ammonia as a marine fuel aboard the Fortescue Green Pioneer. This vessel, equipped with dual-fuel capabilities, underwent a groundbreaking trial within the confines of the Port of Singapore.

Liquid ammonia, sourced from the established facility at Vopak Banyan Terminal on Jurong Island, was utilized for this pivotal fuel trial. The vessel, designed to operate on a blend of ammonia and diesel in its combustion process, received flag approval from the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) and obtained the esteemed "Gas Fueled Ammonia" notation from DNV, a renowned classification society, enabling its utilization of the ammonia-diesel blend as a maritime fuel.

Traditionally employed in agriculture and industrial sectors, ammonia is emerging as a promising carrier for hydrogen, crucial for power generation and marine propulsion in alignment with the global energy transition. This development is particularly significant amidst the increasing orders for dual-fuel ammonia vessels worldwide, reflecting a growing interest in ammonia as a viable marine fuel.

The journey towards deploying the world's first ocean-going ammonia-powered vessel began in 2022, with Fortescue successfully converting a four-stroke engine to accommodate ammonia alongside diesel at its land-based testing facility in Perth, Australia. Subsequently, conversion works were undertaken on the Fortescue Green Pioneer at Seatrium's Benoi yard from July 2023 onwards. These works included the installation of the gas fuel delivery system, safety infrastructure, and the successful adaptation of two out of four engines onboard to facilitate the usage of the ammonia-diesel blend for propulsion.

During its journey from Singapore to the Middle East in December 2023, the Fortescue Green Pioneer was showcased at significant environmental forums in Dubai, garnering attention from global leaders and industry stakeholders. Prior to commencing operations in Singapore, exhaustive safety measures were undertaken, including Hazard Identification Study workshops and specialized training sessions for crew members to ensure preparedness for potential emergencies. Additionally, a collaborative effort among various research institutions resulted in the development of an ammonia plume model to guide safety protocols and incident response planning during operations.

The fuel trial, spanning seven weeks, involved comprehensive testing of the vessel's ammonia storage systems, fuel delivery mechanism, retrofitted engines, and overall seaworthiness. Stringent safety precautions were implemented, including the utilization of personal protective equipment by crew members.

Importantly, the trial represented a significant step towards the commercialization of ammonia-fueled marine engines, with post-combustion emissions meeting local air quality standards. Moreover, Vopak's supply of liquid ammonia for the trial highlights the potential to utilize current infrastructure to facilitate the worldwide acceptance of ammonia as a marine fuel.

The collaboration between Fortescue, MPA, and industry partners, supported by rigorous technology qualification processes, serves as a testament to Singapore's leadership in alternative fuel bunkering and maritime innovation.

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