Study to explore the safety of ammonia bunkering in Singapore

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The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) in Singapore has selected DNV to lead an ammonia bunkering safety study to define safety guidelines and operational envelopes key to establishing a regulatory sandbox for ammonia bunkering trials at two local sites.

DNV will work with Singapore infrastructure developer Surbana Jurong and the Singapore Maritime Academy (SMA). The company’s work scope will comprise ammonia demand forecasting, bunkering site recommendations, the development of conceptual designs of bunkering modes (such as truck-to-ship or ship-to-ship), HAZID/HAZOP/QRA studies, as well as drafting of technical and operational guidelines.

Although ammonia is thought to be a promising fuel in the effort to decarbonize shipping, DNV research shows that several safety gaps could potentially disrupt the speed and success of the transition.

“The safe handling of ammonia is one such gap that urgently needs to be closed, given the threat it poses to seafarers and ships unless properly managed,” said Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV Maritime. “We are therefore thrilled to partner with Surbana Jurong and the Singapore Maritime Academy on this pioneering initiative, which we hope will lay the foundations for robust ammonia bunkering safety guidelines with industry-wide applicability.”

In response to the growing industry interest in ammonia-fueled and ammonia-ready ship designs, DNV has undertaken several projects to develop ammonia as a viable future marine fuel.

DNV’s ‘fuel ready’ notation was launched in April 2021 by Höegh Autoliners in its new series of car carriers. The notation verifies that a vessel complies with the safety requirements for ammonia-, LNG-, LPG- and LFL-fueled operations, and that the main engine can operate on one or more of these fuels or can be converted to do so.

For shipowners looking to move toward a full zero-carbon fuel option with their next new-build, DNV’s new ‘gas-fueled ammonia’ rules provide a practical path. Adding to this work, DNV has awarded several approvals in principle for ammonia-fueled ship designs, while also cooperating with MAN Energy Solutions on the safe development of a two-stroke ammonia engine intended to be market-ready in 2024.

“Next to our broad practical experience, our research detailed in the ‘Ammonia as a marine fuel’ white paper shows that we are well equipped to undertake this groundbreaking ammonia bunkering study,” said Cristina Saenz de Santa Maria, DNV Maritime’s regional manager, Southeast Asia, Pacific and India. “We highly welcome that Singapore, as the world’s leading bunkering port, is exploring ammonia as a viable ship fuel and are very happy to be selected to contribute to the pilot. Safety is the prerequisite for the successful and timely introduction of new fuels such as ammonia, hence joint research and development, testing and setting standards are crucial at this point.”

According to its recent Maritime Forecast to 2050, DNV expects that there will be demonstration projects for onboard use of ammonia by 2025, paving the way for zero-carbon ships ready for commercial use by 2030. Although the future fuel mix will be broad, the company believes that ammonia and bio-based methanol are the most promising carbon-neutral fuels for use by 2050.

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Matt joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over 15 years and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he has been an editor since 2015, and began editing Tire Technology International in 2018. In 2020, he was appointed editor-in-chief of Tire and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International. He is also the chairman of the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation & Excellence, and the Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International Awards.




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