Ammonia Power Takes Two Steps Ahead With Eidesvik and Ocean Infinity

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Published Nov 9, 2021 8:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

The number of shipping stakeholders making investments in ammonia propulsion continues to mount, and two new shipowner-backed R&D projects were announced on Tuesday alone. 

Norwegian shipowners Eidesvik Offshore and Aker BP have announced a partnership to explore opportunities for installing ammonia fuel cells on two OSVs. Working with Aker-backed fuel cell startup Alma, Aker BP and Eidesvik will consider options for retrofitting Alma's fuel cells onto the Eidesvik-owned Viking Lady and the Aker BP-owned NS Frayja. The project could expand to cover further vessels.  

“The agreement is a demonstration of Eidesvik and Aker BP’s clear desire and willingness to contribute to the development of a cleaner and more environmentally friendly shipping and offshore industry," said Jan Fredrik Meling, CEO & President of Eidesvik.

The choice is fitting, as Viking Lady is already the world's first fuel cell-powered offshore vessel. She received a small 330 kW (400 horsepower) fuel cell package in 2009, making her the first of the type to carry a fuel cell powerplant. 

Autonomous ammonia-powered fleet

Separately, marine survey company Ocean Infinity announced Tuesday that it will soon be launching a partnership to develop its own ammonia-powered propulsion system. It has been selected as a winner in the UK's Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, which offers a total funding pool of $27 million to support promising low-emissions technology. 

Ocean Infinity will use its part of the award to set up a test facility for ammonia-powered fuel cell propulsion. The test facility will demonstrate clean technology built to power Ocean Infinity’s unmanned, autonomous survey fleet, Armada.

Ocean Infinity will be partnering with Oxford Green Innotech; the University of Oxford; and the University of Southampton’s Marine and Maritime Institute.  

"Working with the UK’s leading experts, we are driving forward a ground-breaking ammonia based fuel cell system, which will not only make the Armada fleet the cleanest in the world, but also has the potential to revolutionize marine propulsion systems," said Dan Hook, chief technology officer at Ocean Infinity.