Itochu and 22 industry players launch study into adoption of ammonia marine fuels

SINGAPORE, June 11 (Reuters) - Itochu Corp and 22 industry players are conducting a joint study into the potential adoption of ammonia as a carbon-free marine fuel, the Japanese trading house said on Friday.

Ammonia, a hydrogen-carrying chemical used as a fertiliser but also in other applications such as explosives, is one of several candidates to become the shipping industry’s preferred zero-carbon shipping fuel.

In addition to assessing the safety and operational challenges associated with adopting ammonia as a marine fuel, the Itochu-led study aims to identify key elements around the development of ammonia-fuelled ships and global ammonia supply chains.

Members of the study include organisations from the bunkering, chemical, energy, power and utilities, mining, manufacturing, shipping and shipbuilding and terminal industries, as well as classification societies.

“Ammonia is already a globally traded and transported commodity, but for it to be widely accepted as a marine fuel we need to help demystify the risks and safety measures needed so that they are understood by policymakers and the maritime industry,” said Rasmus Bach Nielsen, global head of fuel decarbonisation at Trafigura - a member of the joint study.

“We are committed to the cross-industry collaboration that is urgently needed to bring forward the low- and zero-carbon fuels and technologies that will enable the maritime energy to decarbonise,” said Jose Maria Larocca, executive director and co-head of oil trading at Trafigura.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) wants to halve the sector’s greenhouse gas output by 2050 against 2008 levels. If left unchecked, it says, global emissions from shipping could balloon by up to 130% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. (Reporting by Roslan Khasawneh Editing by Mark Potter)