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Fortescue Unveils Ammonia-Fueled Ship Calling for Regulations to Catch-Up

Ammonia dual fuel vessel
FFI Green Pioneer is being prepared to operate on a mix of ammonia and diesel fuel (Forestcue)

Published Dec 3, 2023 5:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

Fortescue, an Australian mining company that is working to become a green technology company, reports it completed the retrofit to create the world’s first ocean-going ammonia-fueled ship. The company’s flamboyant founder and chairman Andrew Forrest arrived in Dubai last week for the COP28 conference aboard a vessel the company has named FFI Green Pioneer

The converted PSV however made the three-and-a-half-week trip from Singapore on diesel fuel. Forrest explained, “At the moment, the regulatory landscape does not allow for ammonia ships to operate.” He told reporters that they made the trip from Singapore as a symbol to the world of the technology solutions and regulatory changes needed to decarbonize shipping.

He is calling on regulators and ports to license green ammonia loading to facilitate pollution-free shipping. Forrest says that now that green ammonia is emerging as a bulk marine fuel, it is time for the ports to become capable of handling the fuel. However, he contends that no port would permit him to operate today on ammonia.

“This is seriously limiting the progress of the decarbonization of shipping. I look to the leadership of the world’s ports to make clear that running the world’s global shipping on dirty bunker fuel has to stop, as we have a pollution-free alternative.”

Fortescue Future Industries acquired the 13-year-old supply ship MMA Leveque early in 2022 from Australia-based MMA Offshore. Built in 2010 in Indonesia, the 3,100 dwt vessel was originally outfitted with four diesel-electric Cummins main engines.

 

 

The company says it spent the past 18 months developing the systems, process, and technology needed to run the Green Pioneer as an ammonia dual-fuel ship. They used similar technology to a four-stroke engine the company retrofitted and demonstrated at its facility in Perth, Australia earlier this year. The engine runs on a blend of ammonia and diesel.

A gas fuel delivery system was installed on the supply ship while two of its four engines were converted to operate as dual-fuel on a mix of ammonia and diesel. Forrest says that regulations meant the vessel was not able to carry ammonia or demonstrate its technology to use ammonia while in Dubai. However, when the vessel returns to Singapore after the conference, Fortescue says it will complete commissioning to enable the first ammonia transfer and reach flag and class approval.

The company says it does not plan to stop with this first demonstration. It is also working on its broader plan for a world-first fuel transfer and marine vessel with approval to use ammonia as a fuel. Forrest told reporters in Dubai that the company is committed to launching a 300-meter (984 foot) 270,00 ton ammonia-fueled iron ore bulker by the end of this decade.