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Thursday, September 3, 2020 

NYK Line, IHI Power Systems and Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) have signed a joint research and development agreement to put the first ammonia-fuelled tugboat into practical use.

Since no CO2 is not emitted when ammonia is burned, it is viewed to have promise as a next-generation fuel that could mitigate shipping’s impact on global warming. In addition, it is said that zero emissions can be realised by utilising CO2-free hydrogen as a raw material for ammonia. Thus, the companies have decided to start this joint R&D for an ammonia-fuelled tugboat. In fact, the companies worked together to jointly develop the LNG-fuelled tugboat Sakigake, owned by NYK, which was built in 2015 as Japan's first ship fuelled by LNG.

The companies will proceed with R&D from both technical and operational aspects for the introduction of ammonia as a marine fuel for tugboats. Specifically, the project will tackle themes such as technological development of the hull, engine, and fuel supply system, and development of safe navigation. After evaluating the practicality of the R&D results, the project will study of the construction of the ammonia-fuelled tugboat and the plan for construction.

NYK Line will undertake research and design of the hull and fuel supply system, and verify the operation methods based on experience of Sakigake, while IHI Power Systems (formerly known as Niigata) will be responsible for research and design of the engine and exhaust gas aftertreatment devices. A full safety assessment will be carried out by ClassNK.

CO2-free ammonia synthesis can manufacture ammonia using CO2-free hydrogen. The partners believe that hydrogen can be produced without generating CO2 either through the use of renewable energy or by using natural gas or coal together with carbon capture and storage.

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