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Samsung Heavy goes all in on fuel cells

Bloom Energy and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) have signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to design and develop fuel cell-powered ships, an important moment for one of the world’s largest shipyards in showing where it thinks the future fuel debate is headed. 

Haeki Jang, vice president of shipbuilding and drilling sales engineering at the Korean yard, commented: “Our goal is to replace all existing main engines and generator engines with these highly efficient solid oxide fuel cells to align with the International Maritime Organization’s 2030 and 2050 environmental targets.”

SHI and Bloom Energy aim to present their new designs to potential customers in 2022. 

“Because the fuel cells create electricity through an electrochemical reaction, without combusting the fuel, these ships would be able to improve air quality with a reduction of particulate emissions, including NOx and SOx, by more than 99 percent, and shrink carbon emissions,” a press release from the two companies stated. 

KR Sridhar, founder, chairman and CEO of Bloom Energy, said: “We see a collaboration with one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, SHI, as a moment to make measurable strides in reducing emissions and extending our mission for clean, reliable energy to the seas.”

The joint development agreement follows an approval in principle last September for fuel cell-powered aframax tankers from DNV GL. The next class of ship to be submitted for design approval is the LNG carrier.

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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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