Finland’s Meriaura Plans Green Ammonia Demonstration Ship for 2024

ammonia fueled heavy cargo ship
Meriaura Group plans a vessel for its project project work that operates on ammonia (Meriaura)

Published Sep 21, 2022 1:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

Efforts are continuing to develop the first steps to demonstrate the potential of operating on ammonia. Finnish shipping company Meriaura, which specializes in project cargo in the Baltic and the North Sea, announced plans to build an ammonia-ready vessel that will be delivered in 2024 and transition to green ammonia in 2026.

The project, which is a continuation of the ship development cooperation launched earlier this year to develop a carbon-neutral vessel for Finland’s Lake Saimaa, will involve cooperation with Wartsila and Green NortH2 Energy. The vessel will be equipped with Wärtsilä’s modular multifuel main engines, giving it the ability to operate on marine diesel or bio-oil as well as ammonia.

Green NortH2 Energy will supply the green ammonia fuel for the ship. The fuel will be produced with renewable electricity. The company, which was established in 2021, is working to build green hydrogen and ammonia production plant in Naantali in southern Finland near Turku.

The vessel is designed to trade in heavy project cargo segment together with Meriaura’s existing open deck carriers. The company operates a fleet of 16 vessels and has been a pioneer in environmental shipping, including becoming an early user of biofuels and operating a waste-based biofuel production plant in Finland.

“This is a natural step in Meriaura’s future fleet portfolio, complementing the fuel mix together with our in-house biofuel (LBO) production,” said Jussi Mälkiä, Chairman of Meriaura. “This collaboration supports our ongoing newbuilding program and carbon neutrality goals.”

Meriaura believes that green ammonia will play a significant role in the future of the shipping industry meeting the needs of shipping beyond the current capabilities of battery technology. They also noted that ammonia can be stored and moved more easily than hydrogen and that its logistical network already exists.
Working with Elomatic, the parent company of Green NortH2 Energy, Meriaura started the preparation and design of a transport concept using hybrid propulsion that combines sustainably produced bio-oil and battery technology. The goal was to develop a demonstration zero carbon ship that would operate on Lake Saimaa and its canals that also automated the cargo handling process and takes full advantage of the opportunities brought by digitalization. After Russia invaded Ukraine, the companies decided to transfer their pilot project in carbon neutral shipping from the lake to the sea.