Development of an Ammonia-Fueled Ship with Oshima Shipbuilding

27 December 2021

Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo) will launch a full-scale project to design and develop an ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier*1 jointly with Oshima Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Saikai City, Nagasaki Prefecture; President: Eiichi Hiraga).

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. In this strategy, the IMO upholds the target of improving the average fuel efficiency of ships used for international shipping by 40% relative to the 2008 level by 2030, and of halving the total GHG emissions from the ships by 2050. In response, companies in the maritime industry are required to replace the fuels for their ships with ammonia, hydrogen and other substitutes with low environmental impact, and to introduce the equipment that will help them reduce their GHG emissions. As ammonia can be liquefied more easily than hydrogen, the substance is attracting much attention as a substitute fuel for ocean-going ships that navigate a long distance at one time.

Oshima Shipbuilding has been manufacturing and selling dry bulk carriers jointly with Sumitomo Corporation since 1973. The shipbuilder has a large production capacity backed by its long-accumulated technologies and expertise. Sumitomo Corporation, jointly with this shipbuilder, will work on the design and development of an ammonia-fueled dry bulk carrier ahead of the world toward completing the ship within 2025. Sumitomo Corporation will design and develop the bulk carrier, improve the navigation environment, and ensure the supply of ammonia as fuel, in cooperation with Oshima Shipbuilding and other external partners as well as with the involvement of the internal cross-organizational project team for ammonia,*2 which was launched within Sumitomo Corporation this July. After the completion of the bulk carrier, Sumitomo Corporation will own and operate it, thereby helping users of the ship’s transportation service to reduce their GHG emissions across their supply chains.

Since this March, jointly with external partners, Sumitomo Corporation has been examining the launch of an ammonia supply business to fuel ships in Singapore. In addition to building an ammonia supply chain, the company is making adjustments with the Singaporean government for the formulation of operation guidelines and the establishment of the necessary regulations. Sumitomo Corporation is implementing initiatives for the entire ammonia supply chain of the maritime industry, such as developing an ammonia-fueled ship and making ammonia fuel available at ports, thereby contributing to the decarbonization of the industry. The company will also continuously speed up its measures to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050 as the long-term target for the mitigation of climate change and to create a sustainable energy cycle.

*1. Dry bulk carrier:
Bulk carriers or bulkers are used to transport iron ores and other mineral resources as well as grains and wooden chips.

*2. Cross-organizational project team for ammonia:
This in-house project team examines the effective use of ammonia, methanol and biofuels beyond departmental boundaries and across upstream to downstream business fields. The team is mainly composed of members from the Hydrogen Business Dept., but also has members from the Ship & Marine Project Dept., Energy Trading Dept., Coal & Nuclear Fuel Dept., Steel Products Business Dept., Commodity Business Dept., Inorganic Chemicals Dept., and Power Infrastructure Dept. No. 7.

Specifications of the bulk carrier to be designed and developed (as of today)

A dry bulk carrier of an equivalent size to that of the carrier to be built. Image by Sumitomo Corporation.

Oshima Shipbuilding’s Oshima Shipyard. Image by Sumitomo Corporation.

Sumitomo Corporation - press release