An attempt to launch the world’s first ammonia-fueled vessel is progressing, with a 246-foot platform supply vessel being handed over to the project for conversion. The initiative, which aims to demonstrate the current ability to run a ship almost entirely on ammonia, is part of a challenge by Fortescue Future Industries, the green technology unit of Australian mining giant Fortescue, to accelerate the conversion of trucks, locomotives and drilling rigs , ships and airplanes should be operated with environmentally friendly fuels.
Australia-based MMA Offshore reported that it has completed the sale of its 12-year-old supply vessel MMA level to Fortescue Future Industries. Built in Indonesia in 2010, the 3,100 dwt vessel is currently powered by four Cummins diesel-electric main engines. It was sold for $7.75 million to become the demonstration vessel for the ammonia conversion project. It will be the first ship that FFI has converted as part of its efforts to demonstrate different modes of transportation using green fuels.
“We look forward to continuing to work with FFI, with the MMA level now at Fortescue Future Industries where the goal is to rebuild the ship to run almost entirely on green ammonia,” said David Ross, Managing Director of MMA.
Last fall, Fortescue chairman Dr. Andrew Forrest urges the shipping industry to accelerate its transition to net-zero operations. To demonstrate the capabilities are there, he said the company would convert a ship to run on ammonia within a year. In early 2021, the company reported that it had achieved the successful combustion of ammonia fuel in a locomotive and committed to converting its entire fleet of nearly 100 ore carriers by 2040 at the latest.
dr Forrest announced plans to run the PSV on ammonia and spoke on Transport Day during the COP26 conference. dr Forrest said: “This ship will show the shipping industry the power of a ship powered by green ammonia in real-world conditions. It is a world-leading technology that will help provide the shipping industry with the practical know-how to fully decarbonize.”
Fortescue invests heavily in research and development to convert its operations to road, rail and sea using green fuels. Forrest believes it will be possible to reach net-zero operations before 2040 and in his speech urged the entire shipping industry to embrace the 2040 target.