First-of-a-kind ammonia-powered gas carriers could be commercially viable from 2026, new study finds

A new analysis from the Global Maritime Forum lays out an ambitious but feasible set of actions for lowering the operating costs of ammonia-powered ships.

August 31 2023

A new analysis from the Global Maritime Forum has found that the cost gap between operating ships on zero-emission ammonia and conventional fuel could be closed before 2030 and possibly as early as 2026.

Ammonia is increasingly seen as an important solution for decarbonising the shipping sector, given its high scalability and potential for use on long-distance shipping routes. For the time being, however, ammonia-powered gas carriers are seen as significantly more expensive to own and operate than conventional gas carriers.

As part of the Nordic Green Ammonia Powered Ships (NoGAPS) project, co-funded by Nordic Innovation, a new study from the Global Maritime Forum explores options for addressing those cost concerns. The analysis looked at the pathways for commercialising early ammonia-powered vessels like M/S NoGAPS – an ammonia-powered gas carrier designed to operate between the US Gulf and Northwestern Europe that has been awarded Approval in Principle1 from the maritime classification society DNV. It found several measures that could significantly reduce the current cost delta between ammonia and conventional fuel and reduce commercial risks for M/S NoGAPS and similar projects.

‘’Since 2020, the NoGAPS project has brought together key industry leaders to progress an ammonia-powered gas tanker concept towards real-world implementation. With the completion of this latest project phase, we not only have a detailed ship design that could be used for a shipyard tender but also a feasible commercialisation pathways. We hope this boosts confidence amongst charter parties and investors to take steps towards the realisation of M/S NoGAPS and other ammonia-powered vessels,” says Jesse Fahnestock, Project Director, Global Maritime Forum.