This Is The World’s First Clean Ammonia-Powered Container Ship

The Yara Eyde, a container ship that runs on clean ammonia, will set sail in 2026. This groundbreaking decision from Norwegian chemical company Yara is a step towards sustainable shipping. The decarbonization of large ships is a significant hurdle, as they are accountable for 1.7-3% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Yara’s ambitious initiative seeks to alleviate this challenge.

For quite some time, marine diesel has been a popular power source for sizable watercraft. This is primarily due to its accommodating nature and energy retention capabilities. But, given the toll shipping has on the environment, there needs to be a change towards greener options. Although batteries and hydrogen may work for little uses, they aren’t feasible for more extensive marine vessels due to their restrictions in size, bulk, and energy storage. Methanol can be an interim substitute, but its potential to stay sustainable is debatable in the long haul.

Enter ammonia, a leading option for clean shipping. Although not as energy-dense as diesel, ammonia can be burned cleanly in a combustion engine, provided nitrous oxide emissions are effectively managed. Yara’s expertise in ammonia production, with around 3.8 million tonnes shipped in 2022, positions them as a key player in advancing ammonia-powered shipping.

The Yara Eyde, though smaller than some container-hauling giants, will operate on a relatively short route between Norway and Germany. The reduced fuel range is mitigated by the ship’s route, covering approximately 442 nautical miles between Oslo and Hamburg. Yara and its partner, North Sea Container Line, have established a joint venture with a US$3.7-million grant from Norway’s Enova to build the Yara Eyde, with plans to expand their fleet post-launch.

The Yara Eyde is expected to eliminate 11,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually, offering a tangible solution for manufacturers looking to decarbonize their international logistics chains. Magnus Krogh Ankarstrand, President of Yara Clean Ammonia, emphasizes the urgency of bringing low-emission technologies to commercial scale within the next decade, highlighting the importance of incentivizing carriers to choose low-carbon fuel.

Bente Hetland of North Sea Container Line notes the increasing demand from cargo owners to reduce emissions, positioning the Yara Eyde as a competitive and emission-free logistics option. Yara’s commitment marks a significant step towards a more sustainable future in maritime transportation, setting the stage for further innovations in the race to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

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