Japan moves ahead on 2 ammonia-fueled vessels

Written by Nick Blenkey
Ammonia-fueled ammoniacarrier

Delivery of ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier is targeted for 2026.

Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has approved a project that will see major domestic players move ahead on the commercialization of ammonia-fueled vessels with Japanese-produced ammonia-burning engines. The project will be backed by the country’s Green Innovation Fund.

Initially the project will focus on developing an ammonia-fueled tugboat and an ammonia-fueled ammonia carrier.

The companies involved are NYK Line, Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd., and Nihon Shipyard Company Ltd. with ClassNK also playing an important role.


Ammonia does not emit carbon dioxide (CO2) even when burned. By utilizing CO2-free hydrogen as the raw material for ammonia, it is possible to achieve zero emissions terms of the fuel life cycle.The project sponsors note that one way of producing hydrogen without generating CO2 is through the use of renewable energy. A second way, they say, is by using natural gas or coal together with carbon capture and storage.


As the ammonia fuel will have a flame retardant bottleneck, which is difficult to ignite, the A-Tug project assumes that a small amount of fuel oil will be used as pilot fuel. Targeting the delivery of the A-Tug in FY2024, the companies aim to reduce GHG emissions by achieving an ammonia fuel mix combustion rate of 80% or higher.

The companies will confirm safe operation in demonstrations aimed at improve the mixed combustion rate with a view to achieving zero GHG emissions by using biofuel as a pilot fuel in the future.

NYK Line will carry out project management, ship design and legal compliance, while IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd. will be responsible for research and design of the vessel’s four-stroke engine. ClassNK will perform safety assessment of the A-Tug


Targeting a ship delivery in FY2026, the companies will develop and operate an ammonia-fueled ammonia gas carrier (AFAGC) with the concept of transporting ammonia as cargo and using the cargo and ammonia gas vaporized from the cargo as fuel during the voyage.

They aim to reduce GHG emissions by achieving a maximum ammonia fuel mixed combustion rate of 95% for the vessel’s main engine and an ammonia fuel mixed combustion rate of 80% or more for its auxiliary engine

NYK Line will be responsible for project management, ship design and legal compliance. Japan Engine Corporation will carry out research and design of the two-stroke main engine while IHI Power Systems Co will perform R&D for the four-stroke auxiliary engine; Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd. will be responsible for development of the hull and examination of the ship construction method with ClassNK again carrying out a safety assessment of the design.

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