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Tuesday, October 26, 2021 

NYK Line, Japan Engine Corporation (J-Eng), IHI Power Systems and Nihon Shipyard have jointly announced that Japanís New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has approved the Companiesí participation in a demonstration project for the commercialisation of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fuelled engine as part of Japan's Green Innovation Fund project.

The demonstration project, which is scheduled to begin in December with the additional participation of ClassNK, aims to use ammonia as fuel to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during voyages and thus introduce an ammonia-fuelled vessel before 2030. The Companies are working to achieve zero emissions from ships in the future.

The project aims to realise the development of an ammonia-fuelled vessel that is internationally competitive ahead of other countries, and to lead the development of safety guidelines and laws and regulations related to ammonia-fuelled vessels. In order to achieve these goals, marine engine manufacturers, shipyards, class societies, and shipping companies in Japan will work together from the R&D stage to engine development, shipbuilding, and commercialisation.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry started the Green Innovation Fund to assist the aim of carbon neutrality by 2050, and NEDO has now approved the development of vessels equipped with domestically produced ammonia-fuelled engines – both two- and four-stroke - as part of this Green Innovation Fund.

The NEDO approval covers:

  1. the development and operation of an ammonia-fuelled tug and
  2. the development and operation of an ammonia-fuelled ammonia gas carrier.

For the ammonia-fuelled tugboat (A-Tug) project, the proposed ammonia fuel will have a flame retardant bottleneck, which is difficult to ignite, so this project assumes that a small amount of fuel oil will be used as pilot fuel. Targeting the delivery of A-Tug in 2024, the companies aim to reduce GHG emissions by achieving an ammonia fuel mixed combustion rate of 80% or higher. The companies will confirm safe operation in demonstrations aimed to improve the mixed combustion rate with a view to achieving zero GHG emissions by using biofuel as a pilot fuel in the future.

With the target of delivering an ammonia-fuelled ammonia gas carrier (AFAGC) in 2026, the Companies will concentrate on the concept of transporting ammonia as cargo and using the cargo and ammonia gas vaporised from the cargo as fuel during the voyage. The aim is to reduce GHG emissions by achieving a maximum ammonia fuel mixed combustion rate of 95% for the main engine, and 80% or more for the auxiliary engines.

NYK Line will undertake project management, ship design and legal compliance, J-Eng will be responsible for two-stroke engine research and design, with four-stroke technology by IHI Power Systems. Nihon Shipyard will develop the hull and ship construction, while safety assessments will be handled by ClassNK.

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