S. Korean companies join hands to launch green ammonia consortium

By Lim Chang-won Posted : May 25, 2021, 13:26 Updated : July 8, 2021, 15:54

[Courtesy of HMM]

SEOUL -- In an effort to secure a competitive edge in the global market, a six-member consortium was launched in South Korea to establish a green ammonia value chain covering production, maritime transportation and storage. Ammonia has been proposed as a potential zero carbon marine fuel due to its stability in supply and relatively easy storage and transportation.

Consortium participants signed a memorandum of understanding for transportation and bunkering, which is the supplying of fuel for use by ships and includes the shipboard logistics of loading fuel and distributing it among available bunker tanks. Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) will develop ammonia propulsion ships for certification by Korean Register (KR), a classification society.

Lotte Global Logistics and HMM, a leading shipping company in South Korea, will be in charge of operating ammonia propulsion ships. Lotte Fine Chemical is responsible for the transportation, storage and bunkering of green ammonia produced by POSCO abroad. Lotte Fine Chemical runs the country's largest ammonia storage facility.

"The cooperation of companies and institutions with world-class expertise will contribute to the smooth domestic supply of green ammonia," Lotte Fine Chemical CEO Jung Kyung-moon said in a statement on May 25. "I hope this will be an opportunity for South Korea to establish itself as an Asian hub for the world's green energy supply chain."

The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts that the use of ammonia and hydrogen for ship fuel will gradually increase. However, ammonia is currently mainly produced from fossil fuel-based hydrogen. Green ammonia production is where the process of making ammonia is 100 percent renewable and carbon-free.

In response to tightened international regulations, South Korean shipbuilders work hard to secure a competitive edge in eco-friendly vessels. An ammonia-powered Aframax oil tanker that is under development by Samsung Heavy Industries has acquired basic certification from Lloyd's Register, a London-based maritime classification society. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering has promised to commercialize an ammonia propulsion system by 2025.

In February, POSCO forged a strategic alliance with South Korea's Hyundai auto group to develop green hydrogen manufacturing technology using ammonia. A month later, the steel group partnered with Australia's energy company, ORIGIN ENERGY, to import ammonia. POSCO would develop technologies to extract large amounts of hydrogen from ammonia and supply green hydrogen produced overseas to power stations and industrial facilities.

POSCO's business model is to decompose water into electricity made of renewable energy to produce green hydrogen, synthesize it into ammonia, and extract hydrogen again from ammonia.
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