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Shell trials hydrogen fuel cell on roro in Singapore

Shell will collaborate on a feasibility study to trial the use of hydrogen fuel cells for ships, the first of its kind for Shell and in Singapore.

“This trial is an important step in demonstrating the applicability of hydrogen and fuel cells on ships,” said Nick Potter, general manager of Shell Shipping and Maritime, Asia Pacific & Middle East. “We see fuel cells and hydrogen as a promising pathway for decarbonising shipping and working with partners in this way will develop our understanding of this critical technology.”

Shell, the charterer of the trial vessel and the hydrogen fuel provider, is working with Sembcorp Marine who will design the fuel cell and retrofit the vessel, as well as Penguin International, who owns the roro vessel.

The trial will develop and install an auxiliary power unit Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cell on a roro that transports goods, vehicles and equipment on lorries between the mainland and Shell’s Pulau Bukom Manufacturing Site. The team will first carry out a feasibility study with the intention to install the fuel cell next year. The vessel will operate for a trial period of 12 months and customers and partners will be welcomed to participate.

Shell issued a 25-page shipping decarbonisation report last September in which it went through the potential role of different future fuels.

Shell’s analysis points to hydrogen and fuel cells as the zero-emissions technologies with the greatest potential to help the shipping sector achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Hydrogen is projected to benefit from build-out across other industry and transport sectors, making it potentially more cost competitive than alternative zero-emissions fuels,” the company stated last year.

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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