Shipping is moving inexorably closer to major fuel cell breakthroughs. Class society ABS has just granted approval in principle (AIP) to solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology developed by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), one of South Korea’s top shipyards.
Granting of AIP follows two joint development projects between ABS and DSME, the latest to develop SOFC technology to replace at least one of three diesel generators typically onboard a VLCC.
ABS is now working with DSME on future research and development areas to be carried out during detailed design and testing of the SOFC technology.
“Fuel cells are an important technology in the development of next generation marine propulsion systems and can make a significant contribution to the industry’s decarbonization ambitions,” said Patrick Ryan, ABS senior vice president.
Dr Dong-kyu Choi, DSME executive vice president, said: “We have completed the conceptual design, including how to effectively deploy fuel cell systems in a limited space and utilise them safely through joint development projects with ABS, and these joint research results will serve as a cornerstone for future design and test evaluation.”
SOFC technology is making shipping headlines more and more. Splash reported earlier this week on a Scandinavian project to develop the technology. The European group includes Alfa Laval, DTU Energy, Haldor Topsoe, Svitzer and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.
Last June, Bloom Energy and Samsung Heavy Industries, another Korean shipbuilding heavyweight, signed a joint development agreement (JDA) to design and develop fuel cell-powered ships.
Haeki Jang, vice president of shipbuilding and drilling sales engineering at the Korean yard, commented at the time: “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.”