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Developing Ammonia Bunkering for Norwegian Offshore and First Movers

ammonia bunkering
Azane Fuel Solutions concept for a floating ammonia bunkering terminal (Azane Fuel Solutions)

Published Jun 27, 2023 6:01 PM by The Maritime Executive

Efforts are continuing to build the ammonia bunking supply chain as it continues to be viewed as one of the most promising candidates in the efforts to decarbonize shipping. Leaders in the field continue to come together focusing on building out the supply chain for first-mover applications both in Scandinavia and for key trade routes and bunker ports.

Scandinavia is one of the leaders in the efforts with some of the strictest environmental regulations phasing in over the coming years to accelerate decarbonization. To that end, Norwegian energy company Equinor which is looking to transition from its legacy in offshore energy production to offshore renewable energy is joining an ongoing project designed to establish the groundwork for an ammonia fuel bunkering network. For the past two years, Azane Fuel Solutions working with partners including Yara Clean Ammonia, SINTEF, and Norway’s largest offshore supply hub Fjord Base had been focused on the requirements for bunkering. 

The project has been focusing on the key challenges that need to be overcome including safety related to handling ammonia which is highly toxic and corrosive. In the next phase of the project, Equinor will join the effort as they study how ammonia can be introduced as a fuel to decarbonize the Norwegian offshore sector.

Azane Fuel Solutions reports that the project will cover logistical optimization, operational planning, and safety aspects. They plan to develop estimates and a timeline for ammonia fuel demand between 2025 and 2030 as well as the development plan for a fuel supply value chain and perform site-specific location planning for bunkering operations. 

Azane and Yara are already working on the development of ammonia bunkering terminals. In April 2022, Yara pre-ordered up to 15 ammonia bunkering terminals from Azane. The goal is to build out the network to sufficiently cover Scandinavia.

Separately last week, Yara Clean Ammonia also announced an agreement focusing on various geographic regions and key trade routes. Yara will be working with Bunker Holding Group to accelerate plans to supply the shipping industry with ammonia as a marine fuel. The focus is on the anticipated first movers which are expected to lead the adoption of ammonia.

The technologies required to support the application of ammonia are rapidly evolving. Major engine manufacturers are reporting strong progress in the development of engines and fuel supply systems for the marine use of ammonia as a fuel. Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonisation Hub and the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping today released the results of a joint study into ammonia safety onboard ships. The Center has also previously announced plans to test ammonia bunkering and is working with the authorities in Singapore to develop the protocols for the first trial efforts.

It is currently anticipated that ammonia could start to enter the market between the middle and the end of the current decade. Ships are already being built designated ammonia-ready for the adaptation to employ the future fuel.