Technology group Wärtsilä is joining forces with Norwegian ship owner Eidesvik Offshore ASA (Eidesvik) to convert an offshore supply vessel (OSV) to operate with an ammonia-fuelled combustion engine.

Currently using dual-fuel engines operating on primarily liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel, the OSV will also be fitted with the required fuel supply and safety system. Claimed by the company to be the ‘first of its kind’, Wärtsilä stated that the project will allow the vessel to operate with a 70% ammonia blend, with an aim to achieve operation using 100% ammonia.

Used as a fuel ammonia is considered a way of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and supporting the energy transition. It also complements the Wärtsilä-led Zero Emissions Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) project.

Commenting on the collaboration, Jan Fredrik Meling, CEO & President, Eidesvik, said, “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.”

The Wärtsilä and Eidesvik personnel leading the ammonia conversion project.

The Wärtsilä and Eidesvik personnel leading the ammonia conversion project.

Source: Wärtsilä.

Believing that newbuilds will require the ‘appropriate’ technologies, in addition to retrofitting existing vessels, Eidesvik has been a strong proponent of sustainable shipping since its adoption of LNG fuel in 2003 and fuel cells in 2006.

Hans Petter Nesse, Managing Director, Wärtsilä Norway, called the collaboration ‘groundbreaking’ and labelled the work as an ‘important step towards carbon-free shipping’.

“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,” he added.

The partners are also working together on the EU-funded ShipFC project due to take place in late 2023. The project involves the equipping of the ‘Viking Energy’ platform supply vessel with a green ammonia-powered 2MW (megawatt) fuel cell.