Commodities giant Trafigura has come in to co-sponsor the development of the keenly awaited ammonia-powered engine being created by MAN Energy Solutions, a propulsion breakthrough many in shipping are now placing huge importance upon.
The fuel-flexible, two-stroke ammonia engine is expected to be commercially available for large-scale ocean-going ships by 2024, followed by a retrofit package to make existing maritime vessels capable of running on ammonia by 2025 with many big shipowner names backing the project to succeed.
Specifics of what the co-sponsorship involves have not been revealed.
No shipping company can risk having its fleet stranded during this transition
“Developing engines and the supporting infrastructure to provide the industry with the ability to adopt carbon neutral and carbon-free fuels is key to establishing a greener shipping industry in the near future,” said Jose Maria Larocca, executive director and co-head of oil trading for Trafigura. “By co-sponsoring the MAN Energy Solutions two-stroke ammonia-fuelled engine we are committing ourselves to cross-industry collaboration to bring forward the urgently needed technologies for the maritime energy transition.”
Rasmus Bach Nielsen, global head of fuel decarbonisation for Trafigura, reiterated his company’s position today that hydrogen-based fuels will ultimately be the shipping fuels of the future, repeating calls made earlier for an International Maritime Organization-led carbon levy on marine fuels to incentivise the use of low and zero-carbon fuels.
Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, said: “The final goal for two-stroke engines is to run them entirely on carbon-neutral and carbon-free fuels and we welcome Trafigura’s support for this key decarbonisation technology. The interest from shipping companies – and indeed from all links in the entire marine supply chain – in new fuel-technologies currently has great momentum, however the move to green engines also depends on economic realities. No shipping company can risk having its fleet stranded during this transition, which is why we offer flexible solutions that will allow shipping to adapt to the availability of carbon neutral fuels in the market.”
Bjarne Foldager, senior vice president and head of two-stroke business at MAN Energy Solutions, said: “Several, independent reports have recently called for new types of partnership within the maritime sector that not only link traditional players. This closely aligns with our own strategy of cooperating with external partners to develop sustainable technologies. MAN Energy Solutions has a convincing track-record in developing engines running on alternative fuels, having developed the world’s first oceangoing ships driven respectively by LNG, methanol, ethane and LPG. In this context, ammonia is a very interesting candidate as a zero-carbon fuel and MAN Energy Solutions is fully committed to the development of technology that exploits alternative, clean fuels.”
In March two well known shipowners – Hartmann from Germany and Singapore’s Eastern Pacific Shipping – both made deals with MAN to press ahead with ammonia-fuelled ships, while Malaysia’s top shipping line, MISC, is further down the track with MAN in developing an ammonia-fuelled tanker.