The Korean Register (KR) has awarded an approval in principle to shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries for a VLGC design fuelled by ammonia.

The vessel, which can also carry ammonia as a cargo, has been designed to counter the stress corrosion cracking associated with the emerging clean fuel.

The Samsung design maintains the actual yield stress of the ammonia tank steel below KR’s rule requirements and is able to maintain a temperature close to boiling point.

Ammonia is being touted as a likely clean fuel of the future as the shipping industry moves toward decarbonisation.

“Whilst the shipping industry has significant experience of carrying ammonia as a bulk cargo, using it as a fuel brings new challenges and fuel systems must be designed, manufactured, operated and maintained in a way which ensures the safety of the ship crews, port staff and fuel suppliers,” said KR plan approval head Kyu Jin Yeon.

KR has also recently approved designs for a 60,000-cbm ammonia-fuelled ammonia carrier and a 38,000-cbm ammonia carrier and bunkering vessel.

It has also developed guidance for ammonia-fuelled ships, and is a part of the Green Ammonia Marine Transport and Bunkering Consortium.

Young-kyu Ahn, head of Samsung’s shipbuilding sales engineering team, said: “Ammonia fuel propulsion vessels are one of the best ways of meeting the IMO’s carbon neutral targets, and we plan to commercialise them with differentiated technology.”