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Fortescue’s Ammonia-Fueled Ship Runs Propulsion and Maneuverability Tests




May 7 ------ Sea trials continue for the first vessel operating on ammonia, an offshore supply vessel converted by Australia’s Fortescue. Earlier this year, the vessel completed the first marine bunkering of ammonia, and now after a second bunkering undertook the next phase of its ongoing sea trials.

 

The testing and trials are being conducted with the cooperation and close supervision of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, where the vessel is registered. The MPA developed stringent safety protocols and reports it conducted Ammonia plume modeling and drone surveillance to support safety and incident planning and response. With a lack of maritime regulations in place for ammonia as a fuel. the MPA is using these first trials to develop the model for safe handling and operation of ammonia-fueled vessels.

 

Fortescue completed the conversion of the 2010-built MMA Leveque (3,100 dwt) in 2023 into the world’s first operational ammonia-fueled vessel. One of the four Cummins engines was converted for ammonia. The 246-foot PSV made her debut as the Fortescue Green Pioneer in late in 2023 and received the first notations from DNV and Singapore for ammonia operations after loading three tons of liquid ammonia and conducting seven weeks of tests in February and March 2024.

 

The next round began by loading a further four tons of liquid ammonia, along with diesel and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, a second-generation biofuel. Between April 23 and May 2, they conducted trials involving propulsion and maneuverability. The trials also included tests to validate the management of nitrogen-based emissions. They also assessed the vessel’s engine capability to operate on varying amounts of biofuel in combination with ammonia.

 

The trials took place in the Raffles Reserved Anchorage off Singapore. They are looking to complete the certification of the vessel and demonstrate the ammonia-fueled operations for the future of the maritime industry. During February and March, the vessel completed a series of fuel trials. During those tests, the vessel was at anchor demonstrating the ammonia storage system, associated piping, gas fuel delivery system, retrofitted engines, and seaworthiness.

 

Fortescue is working with research institutes, industry partners, and government agencies including the MPA and DNV. The company plans to use the PSV to drive awareness of ammonia and demonstrate its operations for the marine sector. Several other pioneering projects are also expected to proceed, including NYK is leading an effort in Japan to convert its LNG-fueled tug to begin operations later this year fueled by ammonia. So far, only a handful of ship owners have ordered ammonia-fueled vessels as they wait for these demonstrations and the commercial introduction of the engines and fuel systems required to adopt ammonia as a marine fuel.

 

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