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Lloyd’s Register: Safety is crucial for adoption of ammonia as marine fuel

March 26 ------ A new report, named Fuel for thought: Ammonia, by the classification society Lloyd’s Register (LR) has highlighted the need for an industry-wide understanding of the operational and safety challenges surrounding the use of ammonia as a marine fuel, for its adoption as part of the maritime energy transition. The report found that although the technology for ammonia as a marine fuel is developing rapidly, gaps in the regulatory framework around its use need to be addressed, alongside resolving the challenges for the production and supply of zero or near-zero emissions ammonia.


As per the report, by taking steps to develop a framework today, the industry can avoid delays and build on the strong technology case for ammonia adoption. “For the safe handling and infrastructure, the maritime industry can draw on the extensive experience of transporting ammonia as a cargo throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. There are, however, still concerns around ammonia’s toxicity, crew awareness and training and its overall impact on aquatic, human and environmental health,” the report said.


The study also found that among the factors to consider for ammonia adoption, social acceptance and scalability are key. The pricing of renewable electricity, green hydrogen and carbon capture will all impact ammonia’s affordability as a marine fuel, LR pointed out, adding that clean ammonia producers, who are looking to upgrade production to create blue and green ammonia, see potential in increased demand from agriculture and other sectors, as well as shipping, all putting pressure on supply.


Liam Blackmore, Principal Specialist, Decarbonization at Lloyd’s Register, commented: “Fuel for thought: Ammonia, underlines the importance of addressing regulatory gaps, technology application and production hurdles in order to ensure the seamless integration of ammonia into the marine fuel landscape as part of the maritime energy transition. By proactively developing a robust framework today, it is possible to accelerate the adoption of this, whilst mitigating potential risks and hazards. LR is committed to supporting first movers in ammonia and other alternative fuels, drawing upon our extensive experience and expertise in maritime safety and regulation to help deliver innovative solutions that prioritize safety and reliability.”


As part of its support of ammonia pioneers in delivering designs and processes that are safe and reliable, LR has issued approval in principle for ammonia-fueled engine designs and technologies and completed a risk assessment with Yara Marine Technologies and Pilbara Port Authority for ammonia supply and bunkering. Furthermore, LR said it will class Exmar’s ammonia-fueled gas carriers currently under design development by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.


To remind, in late 2023, stakeholders in the shipping industry collaboratively addressed the paramount safety challenges and best practices essential for integrating ammonia as an alternative marine fuel. Specifically, the stakeholders called for safe ammonia use.


Claus Graugaard, CTO and Head of Onboard Vessel Solutions at the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, stated at the time: “We all agree that the journey forward is anchored in safety. Without a meticulous and collective dedication to understanding its intricacies and establishing unwavering safety protocols, the immense potential of this fuel will remain untapped. The ships of tomorrow need more than just fuel; they require a steadfast commitment to safety.”



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