Japan aims to be selling ammonia-fuelled ships by 2028

Japan, Inc is rallying together in making ammonia-fuelled ships a reality.

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 have received significant government funding to develop ammonia-powered deepsea ships with an aim to get these ships in the market by as early as 2028 to give Japan a commercial lead in what is widely seen as the next generation of propulsion.

The two owners and Itochu will be responsible for trialling all the equipment developed while the shipyard will develop a hull equipped with fuel tanks and an ammonia fuel handling system onboard. Mitsui E&S Machinery, meanwhile, is tasked with creating the ammonia fuel tank and fuel supply system and the technology related to the new engine, something Mitsui E&S is also working on in a separate project with engine manufacturer MAN and another Japanese owning giant, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL).

Itochu has been leading a seperate cross-industry study into the adoption of green ammonia as an alternative marine fuel this year.

The Japanese government in February mapped out plans to develop significant ammonia fuelling plans for its utility and shipping sectors.

Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has detailed procurement strategies to ensure the country’s power and shipping industries are using 30m ton of ammonia by 2050 in line with the country’s carbon neutral ambitions.

The aim is to start the commercial use of ammonia this decade, and halve the price of the fuel by 2030.

Ryo Minami, director-general of oil, gas and mineral resources at the ministry, said in December last year that he sees ammonia as “the second LNG” in terms of introducing a new fuel to the world led by Japan.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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