Successful Ammonia STS Trial in South Africa

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Ahead of developing an ammonia marine fuel bunkering network, the partner companies have completed a successful ammonia ship-to-ship transfer (STS) trial off South Africa, reports Riviera.

Ammonia STS trial

In a carefully planned, closely monitored operation lasting 11 hours, on 3 April 2024 Navigator Gas’ 2027-built, 38,000-m3 LPG carrier Navigator Jorf safely received 25,300 tonnes of ammonia from 2024-built, 40,000-m3 LPG carrier Eco Oracle, while moored alongside in the Port of Ngqura, South Africa.

By showing a ship-to-ship transfer of NH3 can be completed safely, reliably, and efficiently, Navigator Gas expects this successful process will lead to future opportunities to utilize NH3 as an alternative fuel source and to facilitate the transition towards zero-emissions shipping.

Through the related company, Navigator Holdings, the group has a 14.5% stake in Azane Fuel Solutions, alongside 14.5% held by Yara Growth Ventures (a Yara International company).

In 2022, Azane Fuel Solutions announced the pre-ordered 15 floating ship bunkering terminals.

The ammonia STS trial in South Africa is seen as a precursor to the long-term establishment of the ammonia marine fuel bunker network.

Navigator Jorf master Captain Vitaly Kostyuk stated, “We implemented our comprehensive safety and risk management procedures to complete the transfer safely, in compliance with the regulations and port authority requirements”.

Navigator Holdings chief executive Mads Peter Zacho commented, “Completing this ship-to-ship transfer demonstrates the practical feasibility of ammonia bunkering and is an important step in supporting and driving the transition towards a viable carbon-free fuel source. We aim to put our full ammonia experience to work with our partners in demonstration projects, pilot projects, and joint ventures so we accelerate the transition from fossil to carbon-free fuels”.

In 2021, Azane Shareholders, AMON Maritime, and CONNECT Energy received public funds from Norway’s Green Initiative program and grants from Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council to fund the development and construction of the first pilot floating ammonia bunkering unit.

The shareholders are now Amon Maritime, ECOnnect Energy, Navigator Gas, and Yara Growth Ventures. In collaboration with Yara Clean Ammonia, Azane is preparing, in Scandinavia, the world’s first ammonia bunkering network, planned to commence construction in 2024, with the first bunkering operations anticipated to be operational by 2025.

In March 2024, The Norwegian Directorate for Civil Protection gave its approval to construct the planned ammonia bunkering facility at Fjord Base in Florø, Norway. The planned terminal consists of a floating stationary barge with a capacity of 1,000 m3, or 650 tonnes, of low-emissions ammonia. The permit allows for up to 416 operations annually.

News of the LPG carrier-to-carrier STS of ammonia comes just days after a platform supply vessel converted by Fortescue conducted the world’s first use of ammonia, in combination with diesel, following its bunkering at the Port of Singapore.

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Source: Riviera