FMG completes world first use of ammonia as marine fuel

(Image source: Fortescue) Fortescue Green Pioneer is the Port of Singapore.
(Image source: Fortescue) Fortescue Green Pioneer is the Port of Singapore.

Fortescue (ASX: FMG) has completed the world’s first use of ammonia, in combination with diesel in the combustion process, as a marine fuel onboard the Fortescue Green Pioneer, in the Port of Singapore.

The vessel was loaded with liquid ammonia at Vopak Banyan Terminal on Jurong Island for the trial.

In completing this trial, the Fortescue Green Pioneer has received approval from the Singapore Registry of Ships and ‘Gas Fueled Ammonia’ notation by classification society DNV to use ammonia, in combination with diesel, as a marine fuel.

The Fortescue Green Pioneer began its journey toward becoming the world’s first ocean-going ammonia-powered vessel in 2022 when Fortescue successfully converted a four-stroke engine to run on ammonia, in combination with diesel, at its testing facility in Perth, WA.

Following this testing, conversion work began which included the installation of the gas fuel delivery system, safety systems and infrastructure, and the conversion of two of the four engines to enable the use of ammonia, combined with diesel. The remaining two engines will operate on conventional fuels when required.

In preparation for the ship’s operations, Fortescue, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), Vopak, research institutes and industry partners undertook hazard identification study and hazard and operability study workshops to identify potential risks during fuel transfer.

An emergency operations centre was also set up at MPA’s port operations control centre with the seven-week fuel trial consisting of rigorous testing of the ammonia storage systems, associated piping, gas fuel delivery system, retrofitted engines and seaworthiness of the Fortescue Green Pioneer.

MPA chief executive Teo Eng Dih commented on the trial.

“The safe conduct of this fuel trial supports the holistic assessment of the use of ammonia as a marine fuel, and the development of standards and safety procedures,” he said.

“This will inform the crew training, emergency and bunkering procedures with MPA, agencies and the tripartite community are developing in support of making available safe and cost-effective solutions as MaritimeSG and the international shipping community undergo the energy transition.”

This trial marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s multi-fuel bunkering capability development to support the digitalisation, decarbonisation and manpower development for international shipping.