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Successful propulsion and manoeuvrability trials by Fortescue’s dual-fuelled ammonia-powered vessel in the Port of Singapore

6 May 2024

Fortescue, with support from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), has successfully completed propulsion and manoeuvrability trials of its Singapore-registered Fortescue Green Pioneer in the Port of Singapore.

Fortescue, with support from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), government agencies, research institutes, and industry partners, has successfully completed propulsion and manoeuvrability trials of its Singapore-registered Fortescue Green Pioneer in the Port of Singapore. The trials were conducted using 6.4 m3 (4.4 tonnes) of liquid ammonia, in combination with diesel and Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a second-generation biofuel, as marine fuel over 10 days from 23 April 2024 to 2 May 2024.

This latest milestone follows the successful conduct of the world’s first dual-fuelled ammonia fuel trial in Port of Singapore by the Fortescue Green Pioneer in March 2024, in which the vessel received flag approval from the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) and the “Gas Fuelled Ammonia” notation by classification society DNV to use ammonia, in combination with diesel, as a marine fuel.

The approval and notation were awarded upon the completion of a series of fuel trials that were conducted over a period of seven weeks in February and March 2024 using five cubic metres (three tonnes) of liquid ammonia. The trials, conducted by the Fortescue Green Pioneer at anchor, included testing of the vessel’s ammonia storage systems, associated piping, gas fuel delivery system, retrofitted engines, and seaworthiness. Members of the maritime community visited the vessel during the Singapore Maritime Week in April 2024 to learn about the trials, emergency procedures and training of seafarers for the safe handling of ammonia fuel. 

To facilitate this set of trials involving propulsion and manoeuvrability tests as part of the vessel’s ongoing sea trials, a further tranche of approximately 6.4 m3 (4.4 tonnes) of liquid ammonia was loaded on 23 April 2024 at Vopak Banyan Terminal, Jurong Island. 

A designated test area along Raffles Reserved Anchorage was secured by MPA for the trials, and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was set up at MPA’s Port Operations Control Centre for representatives of MPA, Fortescue, Vopak, research institutes, and government agencies to monitor the fuel loading and sea trial operations. Ammonia plume modelling[1] and drone surveillance was also used by the EOC to support safety and incident planning and response. This set of trials can be enhanced to support the sea trials of planned ammonia-fuelled vessels under the Singapore Registry of Ships prior to delivery if required.

The propulsion and manoeuvrability trials also included tests to validate the management of nitrogen-based emissions, and assessment of the vessel’s engine capability to operate on varying amounts of HVO in combination with ammonia.

As part of MPA’s efforts to strengthen maritime cybersecurity as vessels become increasingly digitalised and connected, MPA is also in discussion with Fortescue on the monitoring of info-comm technology and operational technology systems onboard the Fortescue Green Pioneer to develop resilience of vessels with alternative fuels against cyber threats. In the coming months, the Fortescue Green Pioneer is expected to play a key role in driving awareness of the need for the global shipping industry to adopt solutions such as green ammonia. 

[1] Jointly developed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Institute of High Performance Computing (A*STAR’s IHPC), Nanyang Technological University’s Maritime Energy and Sustainable Development Centre of Excellence (MESD), the Technology Centre for Offshore and Marine, Singapore (TCOMS), and the National University of Singapore’s Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI).