GCMD completes ammonia bunkering safety study in Singapore
Risks identified for conducting pilots at three sites in Port of Singapore found to be low/mitigable
The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) and its appointed consultant DNV Maritime Advisory (DNV), supported by Surbana Jurong (SJ) and the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA) at the Singapore Polytechnic (SP), completed an ammonia bunkering safety study commissioned in January 2022.
"The risks identified for conducting pilots in the Port of Singapore were found to be low or mitigable, thus paving the way for a pilot project to take place at three identified sites," says an official release from GCMD.
Despite its toxicity and associated risks, green ammonia is one of the potential fuels that can decarbonise the shipping industry, says the release. "With the completion of this study, local regulatory authorities will be able to use the report and its guidelines to deliberate the undertaking of an ammonia bunkering pilot. Because ammonia-fuelled vessels are not available today, ammonia transfers in the port waters of Singapore will be first carried out with ammonia carriers to ready stakeholders of the ecosystem for an actual bunkering pilot when ammonia-fuelled vessels are on the water."
The nine-month-long study has resulted in a report titled Safety and Operational Guidelines for Piloting Ammonia Bunkering in Singapore. The report estimated the total capital expenditure for the additional infrastructure buildout needed to operationalise ammonia bunkering at two land-based sites.
"More than 400 potential risks were identified and assessed based on four technically feasible operational concepts: breakbulk and bunkering at anchorage as well as shore-to-ship transfer and cross-dock transfer at two land-based sites for potential ammonia bunkering."
Lynn Loo, CEO, GCMD says: “This report will inform and enable a GCMD pilot involving ship-to-ship transfer of ammonia in the port waters of Singapore. We are aiming for the first transfer of ammonia to take place by the end 2023, subject to obtaining the greenlight from the relevant regulatory agencies. Since ammonia-fuelled vessels are not yet available, we will be conducting the pilot with proxy assets to gain stakeholder competence and confidence so an actual bunkering exercise can commence when ammonia-fuelled vessels are on the water.”
Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO, DNV Maritime adds: “Ammonia holds potential for a future maritime fuel and thus one pathway for the maritime industry’s decarbonisation journey. This project will help lay the safety considerations for ammonia bunkering. Safety lies at the heart of the guidelines that DNV helped to develop for this pilot in Singapore. Further pilots and studies are key to understand, assess and mitigate safety risks associated with using ammonia fuel onboard the world fleet.”
GCMD is also working closely with Oil Spill Response to develop emergency response procedures, and will be sharing the full report with the Singapore Standards Council to support the development of a technical reference on ammonia bunkering, the report added.