Lloyd’s Register (LR) has granted an Approval in Principle (AIP) to Belgium-based shipping company Exmar for its ammonia (NH₃)-fuelled 40,000m³ midsize gas carrier (MGC).

China-based Jiangnan Shipyard designed the vessel and Wartsila Gas Solutions supplied the inputs that were required for the ammonia fuel gas supply system.

LR conducted the Novel Technology Evaluation to assess the essential features of the design and compliance with LR’s rules and guidelines for the ships’ classification and for the transportation of liquefied gases in bulk.

LR engineering systems global head Ed Fort said: “Lloyd’s Register is immensely proud to have awarded Exmar Approval in Principle for its ammonia-fuelled medium gas carrier, demonstrating our commitment to shipping by supporting clients with novel designs. This is a significant milestone in progressing alternative fuels for shipping’s transition to zero-carbon, proving the possibility of the use of ammonia as a fuel and how adaptable the fuel is to gas carriers, especially if carrying ammonia as cargo.”

Exmar shipping executive director Jens Ismar said: “This approval in principle is an important milestone in the process of developing low CO₂ emission gas carriers. Exmar continues its steps towards further innovation and decarbonisation by demonstrating the possibility of using ammonia as fuel on board gas carriers. This follows Exmar’s initiative of introducing LPG as a fuel in 2012, which is being implemented on our world’s first order of two dual-fuel VLGCs currently under construction.”

A risk assessment was also carried out to ensure that risks associated with the use of ammonia fuel are addressed according to the LR’s ShipRight Procedure for Risk-Based Designs (RBD).

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After the completion of a Hazard Identification (HAZID) study, LR awarded the AIP.

Wartsila Gas Solutions sales and marketing director Kjell Ove Ulstein said: “This work, together with EXMAR, Jiangnan, and Lloyd’s Register, for an ammonia-fuelled MGC is an important step along the road towards decarbonising the shipping fleet. During the AIP process, we have provided the details for the ammonia fuel system developed by WGS and also jointly conducted required studies for evaluating the readiness of the systems. We are proud to have played our part in having the AIP granted from Lloyd’s Register.”