Building a “regulatory sandbox” for ammonia bunkering trials in Singapore

By Julian Atchison on February 01, 2022

Click to enlarge. Industry partners in the Singapore bunkering study, which will be led by DNV. Source: GCMD.

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation has selected a DNV-led consortium to carry out a key bunkering safety study. The work of DNV, Surbana Jurong and the Singapore Maritime Academy will act as a precursor to the demonstration of ammonia bunkering in Singapore at two trial locations. Twenty industry partners and more than thirty relevant supply chain organisations are also part of the input and review process (more are welcome to apply!), with the study to proceed for twelve months from February 2022.

The scope for the study includes some interesting details:

  • there will be two bunkering types demonstrated at the trial locations: truck-to-ship and ship-to-ship bunkering,
  • a general CAPEX model for ammonia bunkering infrastructure will be generated,
  • relevant competency standards for mariners (including certification training) will be developed, and
  • technical & procedural guidelines for vessels and equipment will be drafted.

…the intent of this study is to define a robust set of safety guidelines and operational envelopes that will establish the basis of a regulatory sandbox for trials at two local bunkering sites. Handling ammonia as a bunker fuel will require more stringent safety and operational guidelines compared to transporting ammonia as a commodity given the substantively higher transfer frequency and the need for more flexible transfer configurations. This study will build on guidelines that have been developed for safe handling of ammonia as a commodity by defining and then integrating or overlaying the guidelines required for safe handling ammonia as a bunker fuel. 

While conducted in Singapore, this study can be calibrated to site-specific operational conditions to help advance the deployment of green ammonia as a bunker fuel elsewhere.

GCMD press release, 26 Jan 2022

Our research shows that a number of safety gaps hold the potential to disrupt the speed and success of shipping’s energy transition. The safe handling of ammonia – among the most promising future fuels – is one such gap which urgently needs to be closed, given the threat it poses to seafarers and ships unless properly managed.

DNV Maritime CEO Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen in GCMD’s press release, 26 Jan 2022