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Green Ammonia: As doubters voice safety concerns, is the sector listening?


The case for ammonia as a marine fuel continues to gain momentum. With support growing, shipowners, producers, traders, engine designers and shipbuilders alike are increasing their efforts to study, design and evaluate ammonia as a future propellant for many types of vessels. We are already seeing key players in the industry undertake work to ensure that bunkering vessels, storage, and supply infrastructure can be put in place to support the transition, as well as the necessary regulations.

Cause for concern

In stark contrast to the keen interest outlined above, some parties have voiced safety concerns over the fuel’s use in marine propulsion. They argue that, when compared with methanol or LNG, ammonia as a fuel poses far more serious risks to on-board and shore-side personnel. These fears are backed by recent study findings which have prompted calls for far more stringent safety measures to be enforced to prevent leaks during ship operations and bunkering.

Will these doubts impact the sector?

Tom Larcombe, Broker - LPG & Ammonia at Clarksons Gases commented:

“The safety standards put into effect will need to be exceptionally stringent for ammonia to become a successful and widely accepted marine propellant. Having said that, in our view, there is sufficient desire and investment apparent to ensure that ammonia will, at least for some trades, be adopted as a fuel.

“Logically, we envisage this starting with ammonia carriers themselves, which are the cargo tanks able to double up as bunker tanks. Whilst ammonia is mostly seen as a fuel for new vessels under construction, work is also under way to evaluate whether existing LPG dual-fuel LPG/NH3 carriers can be converted to use ammonia in their main engines.”

Clarksons Gases and Green Ammonia Team

We are the leading provider of shipping-related services to the ammonia industry – and have been for over four decades. More recently, developments in green ammonia and CO2 carriage have become focal points for the Clarksons Gases team.

Working closely with Clarksons’ Green Transition, Carbon, and Research teams, we deliver integrated solutions with our unique blend of experience and knowledge. Backed by strong analytical support, our Chartering and Asset team is well positioned to assist with developing your ammonia strategy and future-proofing your shipping requirements.

Clarksons Gases welcome new players and the growing efforts being undertaken to decarbonise the industry while remaining fully committed to our traditional ammonia clients. We are already handling several project enquiries from a variety of existing and prospective clients. If you require any help, please contact the team.


Your partner through the green transition

Our team of experts are here to help guide, shape and execute your green transition strategy. Whether it is future fuels related, understanding your carbon footprint, getting closer to regulatory requirements, how offsets work or simply improving your day-to-day chartering activity, a conversation with our Green Transition team is a great place to start.

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