In a groundbreaking development, the LNG-fueled tugboat Sakigake is undergoing a remarkable transformation to run on ammonia, aptly named the A-Tug.
The project is being executed by Keihin Dock Co. Ltd., and it involves a complete replacement of the vessel’s engine and fuel tank. This means replacing the existing LNG fuelling machinery with ammonia equipment.
This innovative ammonia-fueled engine is the result of a collaborative effort that began in October 2021. Partners in this endeavor include NYK, Japan Engine Corporation, IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd., and Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd., all working together under the Green Innovation Fund Project of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
The environmentally friendly aspect of this development is particularly noteworthy. Tests conducted by IHI Power Systems have revealed that the ammonia engine produces virtually no emissions, making it a promising step forward in sustainable maritime transportation.
The much-anticipated converted A-Tug is expected to be ready for operation by June 2024. It will continue to be operated by Shin-Nihon Kaiyosha to assess its decarbonization impact and operational safety. This historic vessel represents the world’s first ammonia-fueled ship, a notable achievement in the realm of alternative marine fuels.
However, it’s important to note that operational safety is a paramount concern when dealing with ammonia as a marine fuel. Due to its high toxicity and the potential risks to both life and the environment in the event of a spill, rigorous safety measures will be crucial in the A-Tug’s operation and any future ammonia-powered vessels.