Ammonia has been identified as one of the leading potential zero emission fuels as it can be produced from renewable electricity and is already produced in large quantities including in the Nordic countries. However, ammonia-powered vessels also present a number of challenges – technology, safety, fuels supply and commercial viability that must be overcome before the promise of ships running safely on green ammonia can become a reality.
The Nordic Green Ammonia Powered Ships (NoGAPS) project will pave the way for the first ammonia-powered vessel.
The first phase of the project ran from 2020 to 2021. The project developed a proof of concept on how the barriers to the adoption of ammonia as a zero emission maritime fuel can be overcome, focusing on safety and efficiency, sustainable and steady fuel supply chains, as well as commercial viability.
The results from phase 1 are available in the project report below:
The second phase of the NoGAPS project runs from 2022 to 2025.
During this period, the project will produce a detailed ship design for an ammonia-powered ammonia carrier – the M/S NoGAPS – which will lay the foundation for a shipyard tender and the construction of the vessel. The design will be well-informed by, a-nd communicated to, the broader ecosystem of actors in ammonia-powered shipping in order to promote standardization in the sector.
The work will address challenges in vessel design identified in the initial NoGAPS project, including:
- safety (materials and configuration for fuel storage and engine room, crew placement, containment systems, etc);
- optimal tank sizing and placement;
- and energy efficiency among other issues.
The medium-term objective (2024/2025) of the project is to have the M/S NoGAPS in operation in the region. The long-term (2025-) impact objective of the project is to establish the infrastructure, operational and business models for ammonia-powered shipping in the region. This will accelerate the decarbonization of the Nordic maritime ecosystem, stimulate investment and job growth in the sector, and create a leading position globally for Nordic actors throughout the value chain.
Zero-emission shipping through ammonia
The potential demand for green ammonia as a marine fuel is huge, as there are over 90.000 vessels in the world merchant fleet, who annually consume 250-300 million tonnes of oil, which represents a global market of more than USD 1 trillion. With the Nordic region taking a lead role in showcasing technologies using ammonia as a fuel, this project will contribute to accelerating the global Nordic position as a provider of solutions in the value chain for ammonia-powered shipping.
Ammonia-powered shipping is a credible and route to contribute to the long-term decarbonization of the shipping sector, as confirmed by analyses from the IRENA, University College London/Lloyd’s Register, EDF and others. By leveraging its existing industrial and geographical advantages, the Nordic Region can both accelerate its own decarbonization and create a strong position in the future global market for ammonia-powered shipping.
As demonstrated in the initial NoGAPS project report, ammonia carriers offer a significant opportunity to introduce ammonia-powered shipping early, given their advantages with respect to handling and safety routines and bunkering. Establishing a design for these carriers is the crucial next step to bridge the existing concept to operations in the Nordic region. As the first ammonia engines are expected to be ready in 2024, the timing is ideal for developing this design in 2021-2022.
The M/S NoGAPS will be a ship that operates commercially in the Nordic region and the project partners (particularly Yara and BWEK) involved in that operation have significant strategic interests in ensuring that the ship contributes to the spread of zero-emission ammonia-powered shipping.
Partners phase 2 (2022–2025)
Partners phase 1 (2020–2021)
To bring shipping in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, the maritime sector needs to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 % by 2050. This requires major advancements in technology as well as shifts in business models and in the ways of operating, including in the interface between land and sea.
To support innovation and collaboration in this interface, Nordic Innovation formulated a NOK 8 million Nordic Innovation Mobility Mission with the aim of decarbonising Nordic ports, transport of people and goods – on and between sea and land. The NoGAPS project as one of five projects that were awarded support in March 2020.
Due to the promising results from the first phase, Nordic Innovation decided to extend the project co-funding for 24 months as part of our continued work with mobility and connectivity in the Nordic region.