Ammonia-fueled cargo ship gains DNV approval

Written by Nick Blenkey
ZeroCoaster ammonia fueled cargo ship

ZeroCoaster ammonia fueled cargo ship. [Image; AFC Energy]

U.K.-based AFC Energy reports that DNV, has now awarded its Approval in Principle (AiP) status for the ZeroCoaster ammonia fueled cargo ship, confirming an independent assessment that the ship’s design is feasible and there are no obstacles to the design being commercially realized.

AFC Energy believes this is the first time an alkaline fuel cell with ammonia cracker and fuel storage has received this approval which opens the door to the use of green ammonia to decarbonize the maritime market

The ZeroCoaster Consortium is led by Vard Engineering Brevik AS and includes ABB, Trosvik Maritime, SINTEF Ocean and HK Shipping and is sponsored by the Norwegian Government.

The objective is to design next generation coastal cargo ships to accelerate the transition to zero-emission shipping solutions.


To meet 2030 decarbonization targets for the shipping industry, Norway alone is expected to require 1,100 zero or low emission ships, including 450 bulk carrier cargo ships of the type envisaged by ZeroCoaster.

AFC Energy began work with Vard, ABB and ZeroCoaster partners in June 2021 to design and engineer a modularised bulk carrier cargo ship propulsion system fueled with green ammonia.

The technology chosen for the ship’s 1.2 MW capacity is AFC Energy’s new “S” Series heavy duty marinized platform which is expected to host 2 by 600 kW of alkaline fuel cell systems plus ammonia cracking technology within modular 40-foot containers.

Vard will now commence commercial discussions with prospective customers for the purchase of new ammonia fueled ships, featuring AFC Energy’s marinized fuel cell and cracker module.

“We strongly believe in the role green ammonia will play in supporting industry’s aspirations to go green, and working alongside industry leaders in alkaline fuel cell technology, AFC Energy, we are pleased to have gained confirmation of our AiP from DNV, highlighting what we understand to be a world first in ship design for ammonia fuel cell and cracker utilization,” said Andreas Buskop, general manager, engineering at Vard Engineering Brevik AS. “We now look forward to further working with AFC Energy in taking this design to commercial fruition.”

“The maritime industry’s increasing reliance on green ammonia as a decarbonization fuel lends itself perfectly to AFC Energy’s high energy dense alkaline fuel cell technology,” said Adam Bond, chief executive officer at AFC Energy. “Having worked in design concepts for the past six months on the marinization of our integrated, heavy duty fuel cell and cracker technologies, we are pleased to have been invited to partner with world leading ship designers and builders such as Vard to highlight the potential for the safe and compliant propulsion and auxiliary powering of cargo ships as part of the ZeroCoaster project. Receipt of AiP from DNV is simply a confirmation and validation of the role our technology will play in supporting mariners to achieve stringent greenhouse reduction targets.”

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