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Enabling ammonia as a marine fuel

Phase 1: Ammonia bunkering pilot safety study

Home Initiatives Phase 1: Ammonia bunkerin...


Project overview

Published on

3 April 2024


Start Jan 2022 • End Feb 2023

GCMD team members

Wei Jie LAU


Sanjay Kumar SINHA



Asiatic Lloyd

Eastern Pacific Shipping

Fratelli Cosulich

Hong Lam Marine

Jurong Port


Keppel FELS


National Metrology Centre

Navigator Gas



Pavillion Energy



SeaTech Solutions

Sembcorp Marine

Viswa Lab




+ 130 members on an industry consultation and alignment panel and 8 local regulatory agencies

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Ammonia is one amongst the slate of alternative fuels proposed for decarbonising shipping. As renewable energy continues to proliferate, ammonia can potentially be produced at scale when green hydrogen is widely available. 

A major concern with using ammonia as a marine fuel is its safe handling. Ammonia is toxic and can be lethal upon a 30 min exposure to 1600 ppm (AEGL 3). It is also corrosive when exposed to ambient moisture. 

Despite ongoing discussions on using ammonia as an alternative marine fuel, there exists a gap on how ammonia bunkering can be carried out safely. 

Critical gaps in bunkering procedures and safety precautions, personnel competency frameworks and emergency response need to be addressed before ammonia can be used safely by the maritime industry.

The case for the study

Operational and safety requirements for ammonia carriers handling ammonia as a cargo, are well established. 

Such guidelines do not exist for using ammonia as a marine fuel. 

Furthermore, feasibility studies incorporating specific bunkering safety assessments within port jurisdictions, like Singapore, are limited due to the lack of ammonia bunkering infrastructure specifications.  

Given the parallel development of ammonia-fuelled engines and the need to build up ammonia supply chains for marine fuel applications, there is a need to concurrently look at shoring up capabilities and supporting the drafting of guidelines, ideally harmonised across jurisdictions, for ammonia bunkering.

Scope of the study

In January 2022, GCMD commissioned a study to assess the safe bunkering of ammonia as a marine fuel and, if viable, to define the safety and operational envelopes for such end use.

The study, awarded to DNV and their consortium partners Surbana Jurong and Singapore Maritime Academy, covered six focus areas:

  • Identify and make recommendations to address technical, procedural and regulatory guidelines for ammonia transfer and bunkering

  • Recommend up to two sites in the port of Singapore for ammonia bunkering – one each for truck-to-ship and ship-to-ship ammonia bunkering modes

  • Draft technical and procedural guidelines for vessels and equipment, including processes in the supply chain, taking into consideration regulatory concerns

  • Generate a generic CAPEX model for cost estimation of ammonia bunkering infrastructure

  • Develop competency standards for manpower and relevant certifications required for bunkering operations

  • Validate & finalise findings with industry stakeholders across the supply chain


The study's findings were shared on 27 April 2023, with the following key findings:


  • Demand projections estimate that Singapore will need to avail 2 MTPA of ammonia bunker by mid 2030’s; one bunker barge with 15,000 cbm capacity is required to support this demand.


  • The study assessed risks associated with site-appropriate operational concepts of cross-dock breakbulk at the Advario Terminal (at 1500 cbm/h), shore-to-ship bunkering at the Vopak Terminal (9 cbm/h) and breakbulk and bunkering operations at Raffles Reserved Anchorage (700 cbm/h; with other flow rates for sensitivity analysis.


  • The cumulative individual injury and fatality risks for pilot operations and existing commercial operations at land-based sites are below the threshold set by Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Major Hazards Department (MHD) guidelines.


  • A safety zone of 300 m was estimated for a transfer flow rate of up to 700 cbm/h at anchorage; this is comparable to the flow rates determined for LNG bunkering in its early days.


  • The upfront investment to ready the land-based sites for ammonia bunkering pilots is in the order of SG$1-10 M, depending on existing infrastructure.


  • Of 400 risks identified for the four concepts at three locations, all were low or mitigable with proper safety measures.

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