MSC sets the course for ammonia-powered container ships with industry giants

The world’s largest container shipping company, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) with Lloyd’s Register (LR), the Shanghai Merchant Ship Design & Research Institute (SDARI) and MAN Energy Solutions (MAN-ES) for a draft for the ammonia dual-fuel operation of an MSC container ship.

Under the MOU, a technical specification and associated design documents will be developed for a variant of SDARI’s 8,200 TEU twin-island container ship design for an LR-class vessel contracted by MSC.

This gives MSC the opportunity to use ammonia as the main zero-carbon motive power for future newbuild contracts.

As part of the project, SDARI will produce the specification and design documentation of the ammonia dual-fuel variant, while LR will verify that the design meets safety standards and rules for using ammonia as a marine fuel. MAN-ES will provide data for engine design, ammonia fuel supply and emission control systems.

Wang Gangyi, CTO of SDARI, said that projects like this one are crucial to assess the risks and opportunities of using ammonia as a fuel and to share these learnings throughout the maritime supply chain.

Ammonia is increasingly recognized as one of the most promising alternative fuels to support the maritime energy transition. Ammonia does not emit CO2 when burned, and its stability and comparatively favorable energy-to-volume ratio open up possibilities for long-distance transport.

“LR is pleased to participate in this landmark project with MSC, SDARI and MAN Energy Systems for MSC’s new ammonia dual-fuel container ship design.” Nick Brown, CEO of Lloyd’s Register, said.

“The use of ammonia as a marine fuel for the container ship sector will be crucial for our industry to meet the emission reduction targets set by the IMO and this cross-supply chain collaboration represents a crucial step in the energy transition of the maritime industry.”

“Proactive collaboration between ship operators, ship designers, class and engine manufacturers has never been more important. “MSC is pleased to participate in this project to assess whether carbon-free fuels such as ammonia can be safely used and what impact they will have on ship operations.” said Giuseppe Gargiulo, head of new construction at MSC.

The news comes as MSC becomes the world’s first ocean carrier to break the 5 million TEU fleet capacity ceiling.

The impressive performance underscores MSC’s meteoric rise in recent years, as the shipping giant achieved this remarkable growth from 4 million TEUs to 5 million TEUs in just 22 months.

MSC has already ordered ten newbuilds that are expected to be suitable for ammonia. The ten 11,500 TEU LNG-powered vessels were designed by CIMC’s subsidiary CIMC Ocean Engineering Design and Research Institute (CIMC ORIC). The delivery of the new buildings will take place between 2025 and 2026.

So far, the company has invested in LNG and biofuels as alternative fuels for its ships, but confirmed its interest in methanol and ammonia.

The company is considering a multi-pronged approach and the use of different types of net-zero energy sources such as synthetic LNG, green methanol and ammonia to power the MSC fleet of the future when these fuels become widely available.

“To meet our industry’s decarbonization goals on time, we need to take a close look at all fuel solutions. “Participating in this MoU with MSC, SDARI and LR is in line with our strategic goal of providing decarbonization solutions to our trusted partners and solidifies the industry’s commitment to reducing emissions.” Bjarne Foldager, head of 2-stroke, MAN Energy Solutions said.

MAN Energy Solutions’ goal is to have a commercially available two-stroke ammonia engine as early as 2024, followed by a retrofit package for the gradual conversion of existing seagoing vessels by 2025.

Related Articles

Back to top button