Fortescue Future plans to launch green ammonia-powered ship in 2022

Australia-based mining giant Fortescue Future Industries’ (FFI) Green Fleet Team, in collaboration with MMA Offshore Limited, is moving quickly to convert the 75 meter vessel, the “MMA Leveque,” over the next 12 months so it can run almost totally on green ammonia.

The announcement is part of an ambitious plan by FFI chairman Dr. Andrew Forrest to bring the shipping industry much closer to becoming carbon neutral well before 2040. He called for a net-zero 2040 target to be embraced by the entire shipping industry during an address for ‘Transport Day’ at the COP26 conference in Glasgow this week, a United Nations summit aimed at accelerating action on climate change. It will begin operating the world’s first ammonia-powered ship within the next year.

Currently, MMA Leveque is powered by four diesel-electric engines with a total capacity of 6,920 hp. Although the FFI has not given details about the propulsion system of the first ship on ammonia, it is assumed that it will be a modified internal combustion engine as the company has already used to modify diesel locomotives.

Earlier this year, FFI successfully demonstrated the combustion of a blended ammonia fuel in a locomotive engine, paving the way to achieve a renewable locomotive operation using 100% green ammonia. In August, the company announced that it converted one of FMG’s huge mining haul trucks into a hydrogen-powered mining truck that the company will begin rolling out across its fleet after 2025.

The MMA Leveque will run on green fuel and is a part of Fortescue Metal Group’s broader fleet of trucks, locomotives, and ships, all undergoing a technical transition to operating on green fuels. “This vessel will show the shipping industry the power of a vessel fueled by green ammonia in real-world conditions,” said Dr. Forrest. “We are investing heavily in research and development to transform our trains, trucks, and ships on the road, rail, and sea with zero pollution fuels as soon as possible. It is a world-leading technology and will assist in providing the shipping industry with the practical know-how to decarbonize completely.”

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