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The Fortescue Green Pioneer pictured in the Port of Singapore. Photo courtesy Fortescue

The Fortescue Green Pioneer pictured in the Port of Singapore. Photo courtesy Fortescue

World’s First Ammonia-Powered Vessel Sets Sail in Singapore

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1851
March 22, 2024

Australian mining company Fortescue has marked the world’s first use of ammonia as a marine fuel in the Port of Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering port.

The groundbreaking vessel, Fortescue Green Pioneer, was loaded with liquid ammonia from the Vopak Banyan Terminal on Jurong Island for a seven-week fuel trial in collaboration with the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

Ammonia, a chemical compound created by combining nitrogen from the air with hydrogen, is traditionally used in agriculture and industry. Its potential as a carrier for hydrogen and as a marine fuel can support the energy transition in maritime operations.

The Fortescue Green Pioneer was converted to use ammonia and diesel in 2022 at Fortescue’s land-based testing facility in Perth, Western Australia. After successful land-based testing, two of the vessel’s four engines were converted to use ammonia and diesel for powering the ship, while the remaining two engines will use conventional fuels when necessary.

To ensure the vessel’s operations in Singapore, a series of workshops were organized to identify potential risks during fuel transfer and engine trials. Training sessions and safety drills were conducted to ensure operational readiness. The seven-week fuel trial was monitored by an Emergency Operations Centre. During the trial, the Fortescue Green Pioneer’s ammonia storage systems, associated piping, retrofitted engines, and seaworthiness were rigorously tested.

The vessel used five cubic meters of liquid ammonia supplied by Vopak for the fuel trial, with a second tranche of three tonnes of liquid ammonia to be loaded for further tests and trials in the coming weeks.

The Fortescue Green Pioneer’s fuel systems and engine conversion received class approval from DNV through a technology qualification process. Both DNV and MPA worked closely with Fortescue for the technical assessment of the vessel and the approval process of the vessel’s ammonia safety systems and design. The vessel has also received the “Gas Fueled Ammonia” notation from classification society DNV and flag approval from the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) for using ammonia and diesel as marine fuel.

The successful trial marks a significant milestone for the world’s leading bunkering hub and highlights Singapore’s multi-fuel bunkering capability following the world’s first ship-to-containership methanol bunkering operation in Singapore in July 2023.

The vessel was previously showcased at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and associated meetings (COP28/CMP18/CMA5) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in December 2023. Guests on board included world leaders, industry captains, and members of international organisations.

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