Yara Growth Ventures and Navigator Holdings have both acquired a 14.5% interest in Azane Fuel Solutions, a Norwegian startup reportedly planning to build the world’s first ammonia bunkering network.
Azane develops technologies and services needed for ammonia fuel handling used in maritime shipping and transportation. Ammonia has been identified as a key zero-emissions fuel for shipping as it does not emit carbon during combustion and offers a scalable fuel alternative. Investments from Yara and Navigator Holdings are expected to allow for Azane’s construction of its first bunkering unit for ammonia supply in Norway.
Eventually, international expansion of Azane’s bunkering solutions is expected to further broaden the use of ammonia fuel, according to Yara.
“Currently ammonia fuel bunkering does not exist,” said Stian Nygaard, investment director for Yara Growth Ventures. “With this investment it is expected to become a reality in a year, starting in Scandinavia. This is anticipated to be a huge milestone for reducing emissions from the shipping industry. By enabling Azane to be the first mover on providing this key part of the infrastructure, our goal is to fill a gap in the ammonia chain needed for fueling ships.”
Yara Clean Ammonia, a partner in the bunkering network project, will supply clean ammonia to be stored in the bunkering units once operational. According to the company, the entire deep-sea shipping fleet of 100,000 vessels worldwide is included in the addressable market for ammonia-powered shipping.
Clean Ammonia and Decarbonizing Maritime Shipping
Maritime shipping presently accounts for about 3% of global emissions. Alternative fuels, such as ammonia and green methanol are reportedly key to decarbonizing the sector in the coming years.
Specific benefits of ammonia fuel include its comparative cost, energy density, and scaleability. Although currently more costly than conventional fuels, ammonia is cheaper than methanol and e-methane, other zero-emission fuel options. According to Yara, ammonia doesn’t require extreme cooling and has a higher energy density than liquid hydrogen, so it is more efficient to transport and store.
To allow ammonia production to benefit the environment further, it may be produced with renewable energy–Yara’s project HEGRA, launched in 2021, aims to completely decarbonize its Herøya ammonia plant’s operations.