HD Hyundai [329180:KS], South Korea’s largest shipbuilding conglomerate, has developed the country’s first vessel for transporting ammonia from sea to land, as reported by the Korea Economic Daily on April 19. HD Hyundai’s affiliates, Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE) [009540:KS] and HD Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) [329180:KS], collaborated with government-run Korea National Oil Corp. (KNOC) to develop a floating storage regasification unit (FSRU) for ammonia. Similar to FSRUs used for liquefied natural gas (LNG), the ammonia FSRU stores liquefied ammonia, regasifies it, and supplies the fuel to onshore customers. The new vessel has been granted approval in principle by Lloyd’s Register, a UK-based maritime classification society.
South Korea is investing in hydrogen and ammonia transport, storage, and utilization infrastructure to help decarbonize its industrial sector. Liquefied ammonia is an efficient carrier for hydrogen, with a liquefaction temperature of minus 33℃, much higher than that of minus 253℃ for hydrogen. When mixed with coal, ammonia can reduce carbon emissions while maintaining power generation. In November 2021, South Korea announced plans to have ammonia coal co-combustion operational in over half the country’s coal-fired power generating units by 2030. By 2050, hydrogen and ammonia-fed gas turbines will contribute 13.8 to 21.5% of the national power output. To ensure sufficient ammonia supply, the country aims to establish an ammonia distribution infrastructure of 4 million tons. Ammonia FSRUs offer the advantages such as shorter construction time and lower costs compared to onshore storage tanks and regasification plants.