‘A Collaboration To Test Fuel Cells’ The Correct Step?

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  • South Korea’s largest shipbuilding group announced a consortium with four other companies to demonstrate fuel cells.
  • Shell’s senior VP also claimed that the cutting edge technology of the consortium will deliver less carbon-intensive operations
  • Along with the agreement HHI group is also working towards developing its own SOFC technologies.

In order to advance decarbonization in the next generation of LNG carriers, South Korean shipbuilders continue to push the boundaries of technology. One of their most recent initiatives involves the use of fuel cells.

Consortium signing

Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering (KSOE), the country’s largest shipbuilding group, announced on October 11 that it had signed a consortium agreement with Shell, Doosan Fuel Cell, HyAxiom, and DNV to demonstrate fuel cells for ships. The holding company for Hyundai Heavy Industries is KSOE (HHI).

KSOE vice chairman and chief executive Samhyun Ka, KSOE Advanced Research Center head Sungjoon Kim, Shell senior vice president Karrie Trauth, HyAxiom president and chief executive Jeff Hyungrak Chung. 

Doosan Fuel Cell executive vice president and chief operating officer Hooseok Che, and DNV regional manager for Korea & Japan Vidar Dolonen attended the agreement signing ceremony.

Eco-friendly ships

Starting in 2025, HHI will use a 600-kW high-efficiency solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) for power generation in a 174,000-m3 LNG carrier chartered by Shell.

According to a press release, the pilot’s findings will be used to develop and supply “high-efficiency, eco-friendly ships that can apply fuel cells to propulsion power sources in the long term.”

For one year, fuel cells will be used as auxiliary power on an actual trade route.

Management and integration

HHI will build the ship, design and install SOFC placements, and integrate the ship system based on over 50 years of shipbuilding experience.

Shell will manage and operate the ship, as well as the demonstration project, while Doosan Fuel Cell and HyAxiom will develop and supply the ship’s fuel cells. DNV will inspect the demonstration ship’s structure and equipment for accreditation registration.

Environmental regulations

IMO has announced environmental regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by half by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. This has resulted in the use of high-efficiency fuel innovation systems such as fuel cells, as well as R&D in the use of alternative fuels such as LNG, hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia.

Marine decarbonization

“The shipbuilding and shipping sectors are undergoing rapid innovation, environmentally and digitally. Adding this shipboard fuel cell demonstration project will “speed up marine decarbonization.” said  Vice-Chairman of KSOE Mr. Ka.

Improving energy efficiency

Shell, one of the world’s largest LNG tonnage charterers, has been instrumental in piloting and implementing technologies such as air lubrication systems and digitalisation to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel consumption across its fleet.

Carbon-intensive operations

“The consortium’s cutting-edge technology could help deliver less carbon-intensive operations in the near term while unlocking a pathway to net-zero through the blending of conventional and alternative fuels until zero-carbon options are available at scale,” said Ms.Trauth.

Development projects

In February, LNG Shipping & Terminals reported on DNV’s approval in principle of a SOFC-powered LNG carrier concept from Samsung Heavy Industries and US-based Bloom Energy.

In addition to this agreement, the Hyundai Heavy Industries Group is developing its own SOFC technologies to support fuel cell development projects.

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Source: Riviera

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