Wärtsilä and Eidesvik start world’s first ammonia conversion project


Norway Wärtsilä and Norwegian shipowner Eidesvik Offshore have signed a milestone collaboration agreement to convert an offshore supply vessel (OSV) to use an ammonia-fueled combustion engine with the necessary fuel supply and safety system.

This will be the world’s first project of its kind, with a tentative completion date of the end of 2023.

The OSV under consideration for refit currently features Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines that run predominantly on LNG fuel. The upgrade will allow the vessel to run on a 70% ammonia blend. Wärtsilä has already successfully tested an engine powered by a 70% ammonia blend in the laboratory. The ultimate goal is to operate using only ammonia and with a small amount of ignition fuel.

Ammonia, as a fuel, has the potential to significantly cut CO2 emissions. Both Wärtsilä and Eidesvik have announced their intention to support the industry’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

Eidesvik has a long history of promoting ecological technology, having used LNG fuel in its fleet since 2003 and fuel cells since 2006. The company believes that in order to meet the industry’s decarbonisation ambitions, not only newbuilds but also existing vessels must be converted with appropriate technologies. Additionally, extending the life of existing assets requires less capital and uses less energy than developing new ones.

Wärtsilä and Eidesvik are also partners in the EU-funded ShipFC project, which aims to outfit a platform supply vessel, the ‘Viking Energy,’ with a 2MW green ammonia fuel cell. The installation is set to begin in late 2023.

This ammonia conversion project is also related to one of the continuing development streams of the Wärtsilä-led Zero Emissions Energy Distribution at Sea (ZEEDS) project, which aims to construct ammonia-powered newbuilds and convert eligible existing vessels.