Work on the LPG fuel supply system may help to develop similar systems to carry ammonia. Image Credit: Alfa Laval
The expanding use of LPG fuel supply systems for shipping will be a 'springboard' for the development of ammonia as a bunker fuel, according to engineering company Alfa Laval.
The firm has won a contract to supply LPG fuel supply systems to three Japanese gas carriers being built by Sasaki Shipbuilding, it said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. The systems are due for delivery from the fourth quarter of this year.
The company sees LPG as both 'an important fuel in its own right' and 'an important step on the path to ammonia', it said.
"Ammonia is widely seen as the ideal fuel for tomorrow's zero-carbon operations," Viktor Friberg, head of marine separation at Alfa Laval, said in the statement,
"Marine engines that run on ammonia will be available in less than three years, and Alfa Laval will be ready.
"Due to technical similarities between LPG and ammonia operation, the FCM LPG [fuel supply system] has been a powerful springboard for our ongoing development of an ammonia fuel supply system."
LPG as a bunker fuel has made significant strides over the past year, with several firms operating gas carriers converting them to run on LPG. A group of companies is planning to conduct a feasibility study whose terms of reference will include whether an LPG bunker barge could be developed that could later be modified to deliver ammonia.