World's First: Wärtsila, Eidesvik to Equip OSV with Ammonia-fueled Combustion Engine

October 8, 2021

Credit: Wartsila
Credit: Wartsila

Norwegian offshore vessel owner Eidesvik and Finland-based marine equipment manufacturer Wartsila are going to convert an offshore supply vessel (OSV) to operate with an ammonia-fuelled combustion engine with the required fuel supply and safety system. 

"This project will be the first of its kind ever in the world and has a provisional completion target by the end of 2023," Wärtsilä said.

The offshore vessel considered for a retrofit currently has Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines operating primarily with LNG fuel. The conversion will allow the vessel to operate with a 70 percent ammonia blend. Wärtsilä has already successfully laboratory tested an engine fuelled with a 70 percent ammonia blend. The ultimate goal is to achieve operation with 100 percent ammonia and with a minimum ignition fuel requirement.

"As a fuel, ammonia has the potential to drastically reduce emissions of CO2. Both Wärtsilä and Eidesvik have stated their commitment to supporting the industry’s efforts to decarbonize its operations," the two companies said.

"Using ammonia as a fuel is seen as a key future contributor to shipping’s energy transition, and we’re excited to be the first offshore shipowner taking this step. This project is yet another confirmation of our strong reputation as a pioneer in implementing new environmental technologies in both newbuilds and the existing fleet,” said Eidesvik CEO & President, Jan Fredrik Meling.

“Collaborating with Eidesvik on this groundbreaking project is an exciting and important step towards carbon-free shipping. Naturally, we are also working with classification societies on measures to ensure safe and environmentally sustainable use. We are already well advanced in the development of ammonia as a viable marine fuel, and are actively working on other future carbon-free fuels as well. Our strong in-house competencies are very much being utilized to support our commitment to decarbonizing shipping,” said Hans Petter Nesse, Managing Director of Wärtsilä Norway.

Apart from this ammonia project, Eidesvik has been using LNG fuel in its offshore vessel fleet from as early as 2003, and fuel cells from 2006. 

The company has also recently entered a project with Aker BP called 'Retrofit' to evaluate various solutions for converting existing supply vessels to low-emission units and with the goal of reducing emissions by "at least 70 percent."

Eidesvik has said it believes that to achieve the industry’s decarbonization targets, not only newbuilds will need to have the appropriate technologies, but existing vessels must also be retrofitted accordingly. Furthermore, prolonging the life of existing assets requires less capital and is less energy-intensive than building new ones, Eidesvik has said.

Also, Wärtsilä and Eidesvik are also partners in the EU-funded ShipFC project to equip a platform supply vessel, the Viking Energy vessel with a 2MW fuel cell running on green ammonia. The installation is scheduled to take place in late 2023.

This ammonia conversion project also ties in with one of the ongoing work streams of the Wärtsilä-led Zero Emissions Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) project, aimed at developing ammonia-powered newbuilds and converting suitable existing vessels.



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