The world’s first use of ammonia, in combination with diesel in the combustion process, as a marine fuel has been carried out in the port of Singapore onboard the Singapore-flagged ammonia-powered vessel, Fortescue Green Pioneer.

The Fortescue Green Pioneer was loaded with liquid ammonia from the existing ammonia facility at Vopak Banyan Terminal on Jurong Island for the fuel trial.

In completing the fuel trial, the Fortescue Green Pioneer has also received flag approval from the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) and the “Gas Fueled Ammonia” notation by classification society DNV to use ammonia, in combination with diesel, as a marine fuel.

Fortescue said the vessel started its journey towards becoming the world’s first ocean-going ammonia-powered vessel in 2022 when Fortescue converted a four-stroke engine to run on ammonia, in combination with diesel, at its land-based testing facility in Perth, Western Australia.

Following the land-based testing, conversion work commenced on the vessel at Seatrium’s Benoi yard from July 2023. This included the installation of the gas fuel delivery system, safety systems and infrastructure, and the conversion of two of the vessel’s four engines to enable the use of ammonia, combined with diesel in the combustion process, to power the vessel.  The two remaining engines onboard the Fortescue Green Pioneer will operate on conventional fuels when required.

In December 2023, the vessel sailed from Singapore to the Middle East and was showcased at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and associated meetings in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

In preparation for the vessel’s operations in Singapore, hazard identification study and hazard and operability study workshops were jointly organised by MPA, Fortescue, Vopak, research institutes, and industry partners to identify the potential risks during fuel transfer and engine trials and to develop the necessary prevention, control, and mitigation measures.

The fuel trial was conducted over a period of seven weeks and included rigorous testing of the Fortescue Green Pioneer’s ammonia storage systems, associated piping, gas fuel delivery system, retrofitted engines, and seaworthiness.

The tests were conducted in phases to ensure safe port operations and safety for crew members and engineers who have completed a series of rigorous training sessions since October 2023.

The five cubic metres (three tonnes) of liquid ammonia used for the fuel trial was supplied by Vopak using its existing infrastructure at the 10,000m3 Vopak Banyan Terminal on Jurong Island. As part of the risk management, extensive pre-operations, safety checks and tests were conducted. A second tranche of three tonnes of liquid ammonia will be loaded for the Fortescue Green Pioneer to conduct further tests and trials over the next few weeks.

Source: Fortescue.