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Yara Considers Ammonia Bunkering at Dry Bulk Megahub in Pilbara

pilbara ports
File image courtesy PPA

Published Jul 28, 2022 9:13 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norwegian company Yara has partnered with Pilbara Ports Authority (PPA) to undertake a feasibility study for ammonia bunkering in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Yara announced that it has signed an agreement with PPA to assess the potential for ammonia demand and the needed bunker infrastructure to meet it. The service would use the existing ammonia production facility of Yara Pilbara and draw on clean ammonia potential of the region. The feasibility study will also consider safety concerns for ammonia bunkering operations.

“The potential of ammonia as a fuel to effectively decarbonize the maritime industry is very clear. However some questions remain on how to maximize safe and efficient fuel delivery in a port environment. This collaboration with PPA intends to address these questions and consequently will help fast-track ammonia as a zero-carbon fuel in the region,” said Murali Srinivasan, Yara Clean Ammonia SVP and Commercial Head.

The Western Australia government is supporting the development of a green ammonia industry in the Pilbara region with a $1.3 million investment from the Renewable Hydrogen Fund. The grant supports Yara and ENGIE's Yuri Project, which is focusing on production of green ammonia and hydrogen.

“This study is an important first step on the path towards providing an alternative to fossil fuels and ultimately decarbonizing the maritime industry alongside other green fuels like hydrogen,” said Rita Saffioti, Ports Minister.

PPA manages four ports - Ashburton, Dampier, Port Hedland and Varanus Island – and handles a substantial volume of maritime commerce. The value of commodities passing through its ports in excess of $115 billion a year, and it sees an average of 35 vessel calls per day.

PPA CEO Roger Johnston said as the world’s largest bulk export port authority, PPA has a strong commitment to safe operations and sustainable shipping. “PPA strives to be a frontrunner in establishing frameworks to ensure safe ammonia bunker operations. This collaboration with Yara creates great opportunities to work together to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.

The ammonia bunkering plan at PPA would align with a project by Australian mining firm Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) to convert eight supersized bulkers to run on green ammonia. Fortescue extracts enough iron ore from the Pilbara region to make the company the fourth-largest iron ore producer in the world.