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Sumitomo Plans Ammonia Launch by 2025 for Bulker and Singapore Bunkers

Sumitomo amoonia shipbuilding and bunkering in Singapore
Sumitomo plans to have an ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier by 2025 (Sumitomo)

Published Dec 27, 2021 6:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation announced several new initiatives designed to further support the adoption of ammonia for maritime and other industries. The company plans to launch an ammonia-fueled dry bulk vessel within the next four years. They also plan to accelerate development efforts in Singapore through a partnership with Keppel FELS, a subsidiary of Keppel Offshore & Marine.

Sumitomo notes that it has been exploring the opportunities for ammonia to support decarbonization worldwide. Earlier this year the company launched several initiatives supported by an in-house, cross-divisional project team.

In an agreement with Oshima Shipbuilding, they plan to develop their first ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier to enter service in 2025. The two companies have been building dry bulk carriers since 1973. The new vessel is projected to be 751 feet long and 106 feet wide with a deadweight of approximately 80,000 tons. No details were provided on the propulsion system, only noting that the vessel is projected to have a speed of 14.3 knots.

After the completion of the bulk carrier, Sumitomo Corporation says it will own and operate the vessel. They said it would be available for charter helping users of the ship’s transportation service to reduce their GHG emissions across their supply chains.

Since March 2021, Sumitomo report it has also been exploring the launch of an ammonia supply business to fuel ships in Singapore. The company has been in discussions with the Singapore government for the development of operating guidelines and the necessary regulations.

They are now reporting that they have signed a memorandum of understanding with Keppel FELS to explore the feasibility and implementation of various ammonia fuel applications in Singapore. Together, the companies will work on the implementation of ammonia bunkering in Singapore, with the aim to commence commercial operations in the mid-2020s. 

They plan to pursue several different elements of the ammonia supply chain. Sumitomo and Keppel O&M will accelerate the development of an ammonia bunkering vessel in coordination with the relevant authorities, expediting the implementation of ammonia bunkering in Singapore, and contributing to the realization of zero-carbon shipping. Sumitomo Corporation and Keppel O&M will also work to expand the ammonia value chain in Singapore, exploring other business opportunities including the use of green energy such as ammonia for offshore power generation in Singapore. 

The marine applications for ammonia are part of Sumitomo’s broader programs. They are also exploring hydrogen, ammonia, storage batteries, forest resource and woodchip, and biomass businesses, and other next-generation energy-related businesses.