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China joins the race to develop ammonia-fuelled ships

With South Korea and Japan leading the race in ammonia-fuelled vessel developments, China is now showing its hand by securing approval in principle (AIP) from two classification societies for the ammonia-fuelled VLCC design.

Jointly developed by China’s Marine Design and Research Institute (MARIC), Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry and Cosco Shipping Energy Transportation, the vessel design has been approved by China Classification Society and American Bureau of Shipping.

The design, based on the latest generation of 310,000 dwt VLCC, would feature MAN ammonia fuel main engines with two 6000 cu m C-type ammonia fuel tanks. Cosco said the vessel will be capable of completing a round-trip voyage on the Middle East route. There is no exact timeframe for when such a ship might hit the water.

It went on to say that the successful study and development of this ship type generated technological reserves that the company wants to employ for future market adoption of zero-carbon fuel ships.

South Korea’s shipbuilders have also been rapidly pressing forward with their research into the construction of ammonia-fueled ships. Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), the country’s top shipbuilder, won approval in principle (AiP) for its ammonia-fuelled ammonia carrier from France’s Bureau Veritas in September.

Meanwhile, Japan is funding the development of ammonia-powered deepsea ships with an aim to get them in the market by as early as 2028. The project will be delivered by shipping major Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) along with fellow owner NS United Kauin Kaisha, trading house Itochu Corporation, the country’s largest shipbuilder, Nihon Shipyard and Mitsui E&S Machinery. Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) also recently signed a deal with Namura Shipbuilding and Mitsubishi Shipbuilding to jointly develop an ammonia-powered large-size ammonia carrier.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a backgroud in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.

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