Towards Zero-Carbon Shipping with Ammonia

Paving the way for Ammonia-powered vessels

Ammonia has been identified as one of the leading potential zero emission fuels as it can be produced from renewable electricity and is already produced in large quantities in the Nordic countries. However, ammonia-powered vessels present a number of challenges from the technical, safety, fuel supply and commercial viability fronts – all of which must be overcome before the promise of ships running safely on green ammonia can become a reality.

The Nordic Green Ammonia Powered Ships (NoGAPS) project aims to pave the way for ammonia-powered vessels first in the Nordic region, and globally. 

A multi-year, multi-partner project

NoGAPS receives funding from the Nordic Innovation Fund and in-kind support from consortium partners, including BW Epic Kosan, DNV, Global Maritime Forum, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, MAN Energy Solutions, Wärtsilä and Yara.

Over 2020-2021, partners worked together to develop a proof of concept on how barriers to the adoption of ammonia as a zero emission maritime fuel can be overcome. The study focused on operational safety and efficiency; looked at sustainable and steady fuel supply chains, as well as commercial viability. The Report can be downloaded here

With a proof of concept developed, the project moved on to produce a detailed ship design of an ammonia-powered ammonia carrier – the M/S NoGAPS – which will form the foundation for a shipyard tender and the construction of the vessel. In June 2023, Classification society DNV awarded NoGAPS an Approval in Principle (AiP) for the design.

NoGAPs AiP

(Above 4th from left: Commercial Director Thomas Wøidemann represents BW Epic Kosan at a ceremony commemorating a milestone - achieving DNV Class Approval in Principle for an ammonia-powered gas vessel.)

The design addressed challenges identified in the initial NoGAPS project, including safety during operations, optimal tank sizing and placement, and energy efficiency. Moving forward, the medium-term objective (2024/2025) of the project is to have the M/S NoGAPS in operation in the Nordic region. In the long term, (2025 and beyond), the project aims to establish the infrastructure, operational and business models for ammonia-powered shipping in the region, and thereafter, globally. Ultimately, the project aims to bring the industry a big step forward in our journey towards zero-carbon shipping. Watch the explainer video below, which provides a high-level overview of the M/S NoGAPS.

The M/S NoGAPS

M/S NoGAPS is a handy-sized ammonia-fueled gas carrier that can also carry ammonia as a cargo and is optimised for commercial operation between the Gulf of Mexico and Northern Europe with a design speed of 15 knots and 12,000nm endurance. The 22,000 cubic meter cargo capacity is divided into three semi-refrigerated Type-C bilobe tanks located below deck with a design pressure of around 5 bars.

Boil-off gas is managed using reliquification units located in the cargo handling room on deck. There are three semi-refrigerated Type-C ammonia fuel tanks located on deck with a total capacity of about 2,700 cubic meters. The fuel reliquification and handling rooms are in the deckhouse on the port side.

In the fuel handling room, fuel is received from the storage tanks and prepared to be sent to the main engine. Fuel supply leaves the fuel valve train at an increased pressure of 80 bars and passes through a double-walled pipe to the engine room. To achieve optimal emissions reduction while minimising risks and costs, the main engine is the only ammonia consumer onboard.

In the engine room, there is one 7.2 megawatt two-stroke ammonia-fueled main engine with a shaft generator. Ammonia-related emissions are expected to be managed through the engine design and a selective catalytic reduction (SCR) solution. M/S NoGAPS can also be used as a bunkering vessel, where important considerations will include bunkering system capacity, manifolds, crane and hose handling, fenders and maneuverability of the vessel.

NoGAPS2: Commercialisation Report

In August 2023, the NoGAPS team released a study on possible pathways to commercialise the M/S NoGAPS. Download the study here and read the press release here.

The Report lays out an ambitious but feasible set of actions that companies and policymakers can take to make M/S NoGAPS cost-competitive before 2030 with the right combination of ship finance, appropriate chartering agreements, and public sector de-risking measures. 

BW Epic Kosan has been a strong supporter of the NoGAPS project since it began in 2020. Participating in the NoGAPS project has given us greater business and technical insights into the safe management of ammonia. By understanding how to manage ammonia propulsion and how commercial viability can be achieved, we are well-positioned to manage new forms of alternative propulsion as the world transitions to a lower-carbon future. 

BW Epic Kosan looks forward to translating the project’s ambitions from paper into steel.

Read More

- Find more information about the project and associated publications here.

- Read our 2022 Sustainability Report here

- Find out more about Sustainability at BW Epic Kosan here.

- See our Fleet List here.