Yara Growth Ventures, the venture investment arm of Yara, and New-York listed owner and operator of handysize liquefied gas carriers Navigator Holdings, have each successfully acquired a 14.5% interest in the Norwegian startup Azane Fuel Solutions.

This move would enable Azane, which is a joint venture between Norway´s ECONNECT Energy and Amon Maritime, to begin construction of its first bunkering unit for ammonia supply in Norway.

The duo lead an investment around of $5.7m in Azane ammonia bunkering startup, to commence construction of the first of 15 bunkering units.

Subject to customary conditions, Azane intends to build the world’s first ammonia bunkering network with Yara Clean Ammonia already pre-ordering 15 units from Azane.

Future value creation for Azane is expected to come through international expansion with its bunkering solutions and broadening of its offerings in ammonia fuel handling technology, Yara said.

The commencement of operations for the bunkering units should start in Scandinavia in 2025.

The total addressable market for ammonia-powered ships is estimated to equal to the entire deep-sea shipping fleet of 100,000 vessels worldwide, which over time is expected to transition to zero-carbon fuels.

Azane, founded in 2020, is a company that develops proprietary technology and services for ammonia fuel handling, and a commercial partner of Yara Clean Ammonia, who expects to provide clean ammonia to be stored in Azane’s bunkering units once operational.

Stian Nygaard, investment director, Yara Growth Ventures, commented: “Currently ammonia fuel bunkering does not exist. With this investment it is expected to become a reality in a year, starting in Scandinavia. This is anticipated to be a huge milestone for reducing emissions from the shipping industry. By enabling Azane to be the first mover on providing this key part of the infrastructure, our goal is to fill a gap in the ammonia chain needed for fueling ships.”

Stian Nygaard is also joining the board to help build the company as a strategic investor.

Mads Peter Zacho, chief executive of Navigator, stated: “Green ammonia is crucial to the future success of carbon free shipping, and Azane is working to provide a solution to a clear and important gap in the ammonia fuel value chain. Global ammonia demand is expected to triple by 2050, with a significant part being for ship fuel.”

“In an increasingly strong regulatory environment towards greener fuels in the shipping industry, I am very pleased Navigator is not only making efforts to become a more sustainable business itself, but also investing in scale-ups that we believe can support and expedite the transition across our industry.”

André Risholm, chairman, Azane, commented that the fresh funds will help accelerate the company’s growth ambitions in Scandinavia and internationally.