Vessels running on clean ammonia could be deployed on the iron ore route from Western Australia to China by 2028 and be used for up to 5pc of total shipments annually by 2030, according to the Global Maritime Forum (GMF) in a new feasibility report, reports Argus Media.
Global Maritime Forum Study
A suitable vessel design for an ammonia-powered bulk carrier might be ready by 2025, the research says, with several projects under way globally to develop such a vessel.
“Following the initial kick-off, 23 clean ammonia-powered vessels would need to be operational on the corridor by 2030, 81 by 2035 and roughly 360 by 2050 to meet the scenario,” the GMF said.
This would help transport 13mn t of iron ore — equivalent to around 70 Newcastlemax voyages — from Western Australia to east Asia in 2028, 36mn t in 2030 and up to 588mn t in 2050. China’s imports from Australia rose by 5pc last year to 729mn t.
The bunkering option for the route would be the BP-operated Asian Renewable Energy Hub project in Pilbara region, which is expected to produce around 9mn t/yr of ammonia, the GMF said.
GMF feasibility study
Further studies on ammonia bunkering options are being conducted in Singapore, which could serve as another supply point on the route.
The GMF feasibility study was conducted on behalf of the West Australia–East Asia Iron Ore Green Corridor Consortium, a collaboration between the GMF, iron ore producers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, and shipowners Oldendorff and Star Bulk.
Other companies plan to use ammonia-fuelled dry bulk carriers. Japanese shipowner Mitsui OSK Line announced in January that it has received approval in principle from ship classification society Nippon Kaiji Kyokai for the design of an ammonia-powered 210,000 deadweight tonne Newcastlemax.
Ammonia is not the only green option for dry bulk vessels. LNG-fuelled bulkers have become increasingly popular as shipowners and charterers seek to comply with the upcoming International Maritime Organization 2030 regulations.
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Source: Argus Media