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Japanese Look to Apply FSR Concept for World’s First Ammonia-FSRB

ammonia floating storage regasification
Floating storage and regasification could create early infrastructure for ammonia (NYK)

Published Aug 22, 2022 5:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

An R&D project underway in Japan is looking to use the concept of a vessel for floating storage and regasification, which has proven successful for LNG, to support the early development and commercialization of ammonia as an industrial fuel. Regasification units continue to play a critical solution in expanding the LNG infrastructure, especially at smaller ports and developing countries, and this project believes the same approach could provide a similar vital link for ammonia with the world’s first ammonia FSRB.

The R&D project seeks to expand on an effort that was launched two years ago by NYK Line, Japan Marine United Corporation (an investor in Nihon Shipyard), and ClassNK. Since the demand for fuel ammonia is expected to increase in the future, the three companies have elected to expand their R&D effort with a new agreement with IHI, an ammonia-related equipment manufacturer, to join in the project.

In announcing the next step in the R&D project, the companies explained that an A-FSRB (ammonia floating storage and regasification barge) offers the advantages of shorter construction time and lower costs in comparison to the construction of onshore storage tanks and regasification plants. They expect the A-FSRB to speed up the adoption of ammonia fuel and contribute to its wider use as a lower-environmental-impact next-generation fuel.

“In Japan, technological development is underway for ammonia fuel mixed combustion power generation at coal-fired power plants as an innovative next-generation thermal power generation technology that contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions. On the other hand, when using ammonia in existing thermal power plants, there are issues such as the problem of securing land for new onshore facilities including storage tanks and regasification facilities, and the large initial investment cost,” according to the partners.

The R&D project aims to develop a solution for introducing ammonia fuel mixed combustion to coal-fired power plants supporting the ongoing development projects by domestic electric power companies in Japan. They envision an A-FSRB that serves as an offshore floating facility that can receive and store ammonia that has been transported via ship as a liquid. The barge would warm and regasify ammonia according to demand, and then send it to a pipeline onshore. 

NYK will lead the project and consider the economics of the barge while Nihon Shipyard will be responsible for the hull design and layout of the equipment. IHI, which has extensive experience with the handling of ammonia will be responsible for the creation of the vaporization process and the discharge of ammonia from the barge.