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World's First Ammonia-powered Containership Planned

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

November 6, 2023

(Image: Yara)

(Image: Yara)

A new containership planned for operations in Europe is set to become the world's first to use pure ammonia as fuel.

Yara Clean Ammonia and NorthSea Container Line are establishing a joint venture, NCL Oslofjord, to operate the ammonia-powered ship Yara Eyde on routes between Norway and Germany from 2026.

The project has been awarded just over NOK 40 million (US$3.6 million) from Enova, a Norwegian government enterprise promoting clean energy technologies.

Ammonia is one of several alternative fuels gaining traction in commercial shipping to help cut emissions.  

"Ammonia as a fuel does not pollute. When we produce ammonia from renewable energy or with natural gas where up to 95% of the CO2 emissions are captured and stored permanently, pure ammonia will quickly be a good solution for cutting carbon emissions in the maritime sector," said Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, head of Yara Clean Ammonia. "Yara Eyde will demonstrate the maturity of ammonia as a maritime fuel."

The groundbreaking vessel is intended enable emission-free trade between Oslo, Brevik, Hamburg and Bremerhaven.

"We see there is increasing demand from product owners to reduce emissions," said Bente Hetland, CEO of North Sea Container Line. "The ship offers competitive and emission-free logistics to all cargo owners in the Oslofjord and the Greenland region."

Svein Tore Holsether, CEO of Yara International, said, "The world is in the middle of a climate crisis and all good forces must now come together to quickly cut emissions. We are happy to be able to collaborate across sectors and show that decisive emission cuts are possible. The green journey started with the Yara Birkeland, the world's first self-driving electric containership, and now we continue it with the Yara Eyde, which will be the world's first containership on pure ammonia.

"As a direct continuation of the green logistics with Yara Birkeland, the ammonia-powered ship Yara Eyde will extend the zero-emission value chain from Brevik to ports on the continent. With an emission-free sea journey from Brevik to Europe, Yara scope 3 removes emissions by 11,000 tonnes of CO2 per year."

(Image: Yara)

Yara Clean Ammonia will supply Yara Eyde with ammonia that is produced fossil-free or almost carbon-free. Together with Azane Fuel Solutions, a storage and bunkering network is being developed to make pure ammonia available in Norwegian and eventually Scandinavian ports. The bunkering network can also contribute to achieving Norway's goal of cutting emissions from the offshore sector.  

Enova and Innovation Norway are also supporting one of the barges planned to supply Yara Eyde with low-emission fuel in Brevik.

"Yara has chosen to participate in this project to show that this segment can create additional growth for ammonia in the short term. Yara will contribute to developing this new market, but we will strategically use our funds to develop the production and logistics segment and not prioritize ownership in ships," Ankarstrand said.

"This unique project takes a big step towards supply chains with zero emissions for Yara and demonstrates that ammonia will be able to provide cost-effective and environmentally friendly sea transport," Ankarstrand added.