MAN bets on hydrogen to drive shipping towards zero emissions

With critical UN climate change talks underway in Poland this week and Maersk making a significant total decarbonisation by 2050 pledge, shipping today gets a glimpse of how hydrogen can power world trade towards zero emissions.

MAN Cryo, a wholly owned subsidiary of MAN Energy Solutions, has become the first supplier to develop a marine, liquid hydrogen fuel-gas system. The system was developed in close cooperation with owner Fjord1 and Multi Maritime in Norway. The key now will be to see how this invention can be scaled up to power larger ships.

Multi Maritime’s hydrogen vessel design for Fjord1, including the fully integrated MAN Cryo – Hydrogen Fuel Gas System, has been granted a world first preliminary approval in principle by the class society DNV-GL.

Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions, said: “Winning this approval is a significant development for a number of reasons. As a solution for vessels employed on relatively short maritime routes, such as ferries, this technology is a world-first and showcases our company’s ability to deliver genuinely innovative solutions. Furthermore, hydrogen is a clean fuel whose profile fits perfectly with the general desire within the industry to move towards cleaner technology. The possibilities for this technology are varied and exciting.”

The new system has a scalable design that allows adaptation for different shipping types, sizes and conditions. The design is suited for both above- and below-deck applications, offering ship designers the flexibility to optimise their designs in relation to efficiency, and to cargo or passenger space.

Liquefied hydrogen has a temperature of -253° Celsius and is one of the absolutely coldest cryogenic gases there is, which places system components and materials under extreme stresses. Another design challenge was hydrogen’s explosive nature.

Once liquefied, hydrogen is reduced to 1/800th of its volume, compared to that of its gas phase, facilitating a more-efficient distribution. As a fuel, hydrogen does not release any CO2. Liquefied hydrogen can be used to charge batteries for electrical propulsion via fuel-cell technology.

MAN Cryo said it sees a bright future for hydrogen applications globally as part of its target of achieving zero fossil emissions within the marine sector by 2050.

MAN Cryo supplied the world’s first LNG fuel-gas system for the Glutra ferry in Norway in 1999, a vessel that is still operational to this day. More recently, in 2013, MAN Cryo supplied the world’s first bunker vessel, the SeaGas, with operations in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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