Plans from Norway for an Ammonia-Fuelled Short-Sea Bulker Service
The latest entrant in the race to develop the first zero-emission shipping operation is a new joint venture called Viridis Bulk Carriers. Formed in Norway in 2020 by shipping companies Navigare Logistics and Mosvolds Rederi, working along with zero-emission ship project specialists Amon Maritime, the goal is to create a pure zero-emission shipping company offering short sea bulk transportation.
“Viridis Bulk Carriers aim to play a leading role in the green transition of the industry, offering our clients competitive, carbon-free logistics solutions without sacrificing the performance of our vessels,” says Espen Nordstrøm, Managing Director at Navigare Logistics. “In the FlexBulk project, we will build a carbon-free bulk logistics network through a set of freight agreements with select clients, served by a new fleet of innovative, ammonia-powered vessels.”
The new venture has already been developing the design concept for its vessels. They received support from the Research Council of Norway’s Green Platform for Business Restructuring, which has selected 93 projects to receive initial funding and to apply for larger grants this spring. Together with Arena Ocean Hyway Cluster, Viridis will further develop the project, laying the foundation for a series of newbuildings.
“We believe a large-scale green transition in shipping will only happen if the ships of tomorrow are as capable, or more capable, as the ships of today. Therefore, our vessels will be able to steam more than 3,000 nautical miles between bunkering,” says André Risholm, CEO at Amon Maritime.
The FlexBulk project plans to use reciprocating engines that will burn ammonia to generate propulsive power, and an exhaust gas after-treatment system optimized for ammonia that will eliminate any by-products. The company says the design will “ensure that we do not replace CO2 emissions with other harmful pollutants.”
They also plan to use batteries and shore power connections creating an ammonia-electric hybrid power system. The electric system will enable silent maneuvering and cargo operations.
“With an average age of close to 30 years, the European short-sea shipping fleet is on the verge of a much-needed renewal process,” says Jan Sigurd Vigmostad, Chief Investment Officer at Glastad Holding the parent company of Mosvolds Rederi. “Our strategy is to meet the demand by replacing the aging fleet with zero-emission ships. We are skipping gradual emission reductions and going straight for a long-term, sustainable solution.”
Viridis is currently exploring a range of different configurations to create a flexible design for its bulk carriers to meet the broad needs of charters. The company is currently in discussions with leading shipyards with a goal of placing its first construction order before the end of 2022 and beginning service in 2024 and 2025.