NYK Concludes Contract for Modification of LNG-Fueled Tugboat to Ammonia-Fuel Specifications

Aug. 09, 2022

NYK has concluded a contract with Keihin Dock Co., Ltd., an NYK Group company, to modify a tugboat to ammonia-fuel specifications. Sakigake, a tugboat currently fueled by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and operated in Tokyo Bay by NYK Group company Shin-Nippon Kaiyosha Corporation will be converted to operate on ammonia fuel by a target completion year of 2024.

This R&D was initiated in October 2021 by NYK and IHI Power Systems Co., Ltd. (IPS) and adopted as part of the Green Innovation Fund project within Japan's New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) for the development of vessels equipped with a domestically produced ammonia-fueled engine.*

Since carbon dioxide (CO2) is not emitted when ammonia is combusted, ammonia is viewed to have promise as a next-generation fuel that could mitigate shipping's impact on global warming. In addition, it is said that zero emissions can be realized throughout the fuel life cycle by utilizing CO2-free hydrogen** as a raw material for ammonia.

By using ammonia as a fuel for ships, it will be possible to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during voyages. Therefore, NYK and IPS are proceeding with research and development aiming for early social implementation.

In the development process, there were various design challenges in using ammonia as fuel, but the two companies overcame these challenges without changing the size of the conventional tugboat and received Approval in Principle (AiP) from Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) in July 2022.

NYK will begin modification in fiscal 2023 with the aim of realizing demonstration operations in the port of Yokohama in fiscal 2024.

Outline of Sakigake
Length overall: 37.20 meters
Breadth: 10.20 meters
Moulded depth: 4.40 meters
Gross tonnage: 272 tons
Shipowner: NYK
Flag: Japan


LNG-fueled tugboat Sakigake. Image by NYK.


Image of A-Tug. Image by NYK.


From left, Toshiya Kozawa, President, Keihin Dock Co., Ltd.; Tsutomu Yokoyama, General Manager, Green Business Group, NYK. Face masks were removed immediately prior to the photo. Image by NYK.





On February 3, 2021, NYK released the "NYK Group ESG Story," which aims to further integrate ESG into the company's management strategy and promotes activities that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs through business activities. On March 24, 2022, NYK released the updated "NYK Group ESG Story 2022," which introduces initiatives for integrating ESG into the Group's management strategies set forth in the "NYK Group ESG Story" and provides a partial explanation of the Group's sustainable growth strategy from a long-term perspective.

In addition, NYK has launch its new "NYK GREEN EARTH" brand to emphasize NYK's ESG efforts to create new value initiatives for low carbon and decarbonization through green businesses such as the development of next-generation fuels, including ammonia and hydrogen. The NYK Group will encourage new value creation as a sustainable solution provider in order to strongly promote ESG management.

* Green Innovation Fund project
A 2 trillion yen fund created in NEDO to significantly accelerate current efforts such as structural transformation of the energy and industrial sector and innovation through bold investment toward carbon neutrality by 2050. The fund provides continuous support from R&D and demonstration to social implementation for up to 10 years for companies that share ambitious and concrete goals with the public and private sectors and tackle them as management issues. NEDO provides support in 14 priority areas for which action plans are being formulated in the green growth strategy.

** CO2-free hydrogen
One way of producing hydrogen without generating CO2 is through the use of renewable energy. A second way is by using natural gas or coal together with carbon capture and storage. CO2-free ammonia synthesis is technology for synthesizing ammonia using such CO2-free hydrogen.


NYK Group, press release