Wärtsilä sets about producing hydrogen from LNG onboard ships

Wärtsilä has embarked on a new project to produce hydrogen as marine fuel from LNG onboard vessels. The Finnish technology group has joined forces with the Italian class society RINA, ABB, Metacon’s subsidiary Helbio, the Liberian Registry, and an energy major to develop a solution that will exceed the IMO 2050 target of a 70% reduction in carbon intensity without requiring extensive infrastructure investment.

Specifically, the concept is based on mixing LNG with steam to generate hydrogen and CO2. The hydrogen produced will be used directly in internal combustion engines or fuel cells in a mix with natural gas, removing the requirement for hydrogen storage aboard. The CO2 will be liquefied using the cryogenic LNG stream that would be utilised as fuel, and then disposed ashore for carbon storage. Wärtsilä said that tankers might use the stored CO2 as an inert gas during discharge.

By producing hydrogen onboard the solution becomes far more viable

The goal is to support the marine sector’s gradual transition from LNG to hydrogen. Wärtsilä said that only LNG bunkering will be required and, by progressively increasing the production of hydrogen, the consumption of fossil methane and associated methane slip will be reduced at the same rate.

Wärtsilä and ABB will support the application of hydrogen in powering internal combustion engines and fuel cells respectively, while Helbio will provide the technology and manufacturing of gas reformers. RINA and the Liberian Registry will provide advice and guidance on the application of rules and regulations for novel concept alternative designs as well as specific rules for this kind of arrangement.

“Current difficulties and cost considerations regarding the production, distribution, and onboard storage of hydrogen have so far limited the sector’s interest in its direct use as a marine fuel. However, by producing hydrogen onboard, and using readily available LNG, the solution becomes far more viable and in a much faster time than would otherwise be possible,” the company said.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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