The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Yara International ASA join Joint Development Project, and partners announce the name of the expanded coalition – The Castor Initiative.

Ammonia-fuelled tanker Joint Development Project (JDP) partners – MISC Berhad (MISC), LR, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and MAN Energy Solutions (MAN) announced the entry of two new partners – the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and Yara International ASA (Yara) at a recent webinar focused on Ammonia as a Shipping Fuel which was organised by The Getting to Zero Coalition’s Fuels & Technologies workstream. The JDP partners also went on to announce the name of the expanded coalition – The Castor Initiative.

Leading fertilizer company – Yara will work alongside MISC, LR, SHI and MAN to develop ammonia propulsion ships to support the maritime industry’s drive to decarbonisation.

In addition, the consortium will be able to tap into MPA’s experience as a bunkering hub and flag state to gather insights on safety issues and ammonia bunkering procedures, and gain access to research capabilities in Singapore.

The addition of MPA and Yara means that the alliance, which was first unveiled in January 2020, now has a complete representation from all areas of the maritime ecosystem. The experience and expertise of each partner will be central to the success of the initiative, from conception to project realisation.

This announcement follows a key project milestone in September 2020 when LR awarded Approval in Principle to SHI for its ammonia-fuelled tanker design with the aim of commercialising these developments by 2024. 

To meet the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2050 ambitions on halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2008 levels, zero-carbon vessels need to enter the world fleet by 2030. The JDP was motivated by the partners’ shared belief that the maritime industry needs leadership and greater collaboration if shipping is to meet the IMO’s GHG ambitions.

While ammonia is one of the fuels being considered by maritime stakeholders, the partners also recognise that the shipping industry will need to explore multiple decarbonisation pathways and hope their collaboration will spur others in the maritime industry to join forces on addressing this global challenge.

“Supporting the enabling role of ammonia in the energy transition, we recognise the need for value chain collaboration to make zero-emission shipping by using ammonia as a fuel a reality,” said Magnus Ankarstrand, EVP Clean Ammonia, Yara.

MPA Chief Executive, Ms Quah Ley Hoon, said, “Decarbonisation remains a key priority for the maritime sector, not just in Singapore but globally. As a transshipment and bunkering hub, we are committed to meet IMO2030/2050 decarbonisation goals. We are also looking forward to collaborating with like-minded industry partners to support the development and trials of alternative future marine fuels such as ammonia.”

MISC President and Group CEO, Yee Yang Chien said, “We are honoured to have MPA and Yara join us as partners on this journey to develop deep-sea zero-carbon vessels. This JDP has come a long way since our inception in January 2020 and it now stands complete as The Castor Initiative; with absolute collaboration and commitment from principal key stakeholders in the shipping industry. We are certainly excited with the expansion of the alliance and look forward to unlocking new possibilities to accomplish our GHG aspirations ahead of 2050 together with MPA and Yara, both of which are global leaders in their respective areas of authority and expertise."

LR Group CEO, Nick Brown said, “Making deep-sea zero-carbon vessels a reality within this decade calls for leadership commitment and collaborative action. Lloyd’s Register welcomes the expertise that the MPA and Yara will bring to the ammonia-fuelled tanker joint development project (JDP). The calibre of the partners involved in this JDP as well as the milestones agreed are testament to the maritime industry’s determination to deliver on the IMO’s 2050 GHG ambitions.”

SHI President and CEO, Jin Taek Jung said, "In the course of energy transition, joining this JDP towards developing zero-carbon vessels coincides with our endeavour to find sustainable growth momentum and fulfil our social responsibility for a clean environment. The long-term journey to realise zero-carbon and ultimately zero-emission vessels requires extensive cooperation of the stakeholders in the maritime industry. In light of this, participation of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Yara raises our expectations for the outcome of this JDP by adding expertise and fostering an ecosystem of the JDP partners playing a key role in the fields encompassing ammonia supply to operating vessels."

Brian Østergaard Sørensen, Vice President and Head of R&D, Two-Stroke Business, MAN Energy Solutions, said, “We are looking forward to working with such distinguished industry partners on this joint development project that is so closely aligned with our own strategy to develop sustainable technologies. In this respect, ammonia is a very interesting candidate as a zero-carbon fuel. The right engine technology is key to decarbonisation and MAN Energy Solutions already has a convincing track-record in developing engines that run on alternative fuels. We look forward to adding our expertise to this study.”