Australia is lucky. We have bountiful natural resources, buried in the ground, streaming from the sun and coursing through the air. Along with our geographic position on the apex of the vast Asian Pacific trade route we are in the perfect situation to initiate a new industry.
Oceania are connecting together these key aspects of Australia’s DNA. Our ambition is to leverage the abundant energy sources in the north-west of Australia to supply green ammonia, then utilise the best-in-class bunker vessel to deliver sustainable shipping fuel to an industry that’s responsible for 3% of global GHG emissions. To achieve our ambition we are collaborating with energy suppliers, ship owners, commodity exporters and the federal government, all aligned to build an Australian sustainable shipping hub.
By 2040 we forecast a demand for greater than 4 MTPA of Ammonia for ship bunkering in NW Australia alone. This is quite the challenge and will take time; hence we should not wait to transition straight to ammonia. First, we advocate an LNG based transition pathway. For the upcoming decade this will bank a 23-30% reduction in CO2 and 100% NOx and SOx emissions from shipping. This is a stepping-stone to initially fund the facilities and bunker vessels required to pave the way for ammonia. The bunker vessel we propose is designed with fuel flexibility at the forefront allowing us to deliver LNG, ammonia or methanol.
To achieve this flexibility in design we have focused on four areas, each designed for either initial flexible-fuel use or retrofit of components:
- Vessel structure – flexi-fuel ready
- Storage tanks – flexi-fuel ready
- Cargo handling and fuel system – minor retrofit
- Engine – minor retrofit
The increased weight of fuel storage and lower energy density of ammonia vs LNG, requires additional support structure leading to an overall larger vessel. With the storage tanks, they will be constructed out of stainless steel to mitigate stress corrosion cracking.
Ammonia will be stored in a cryogenic state at -33C. Pressurized storage in Type C tanks (approximately 18 bar) will eliminate the need for additional re-liquefaction
The blend of low flashpoint fuels and gases introduces complexity to the fuel supply system. The key is to create interdependence between the key systems. For fuels using cryogenic liquefied storage, the fuel can be pressure fed directly in liquid form.
The bunker vessel is designed with Rolls Royce Bergen engines that will be able to be converted to run on ammonia. Initial tests are underway. With the above technological developments and industry collaboration, we have a clear path to being a leader in sustainable shipping for Australasia.