Maritime industry players join forces to realize the decarbonization potential of solid oxide fuel cells
Alfa Laval, DTU Energy, Haldor Topsoe, Svitzer and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping are entering into a joint project to accelerate the development of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology.
Funded by a grant from Danish EUDP (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program), the partners will pursue a high-efficiency solution with the scalability to support marine industry decarbonization.
The project, SOFC4Maritime, will target optimal utilization of future green fuels via application of SOFCs for power production on marine vessels. When based on fuels such as ammonia, hydrogen or bio-methane, SOFCs hold great promise as a replacement for today’s fossil fuels. Such alternatives are needed in the maritime industry, which must transition to greener power over just a few decades.
By electrochemically converting fuel into electricity, SOFCs can potentially produce power with higher efficiency than internal combustion engines running on the same fuelcwithout creating polluting emissions or particulates.
Ammonia-based SOFCs are especially attractive, since ammonia can be produced in large scale using renewable electricity and no biomass resource. The research will therefore have ammonia-based SOFCs as its starting point.
Alfa Laval, a marine supplier with more than a century of expertise, will head the development initiative. Haldor Topsoe will provide the underlying SOFC stack technology, while DTU Energy will support in system layout and component testing. Svitzer will bring a shipowner perspective and the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping will ensure a broad industry overview, end-to-end analysis of various energy pathways and a detailed techno-economic analysis.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) targets a 50% reduction of vessel-related greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Today, global shipping accounts for around 3% of global carbon emissions, a share which is estimated to increase in the coming decades (as other industries tackle climate emissions). To achieve the long-term target of decarbonization the industry must shift towards new fuel types and technologies.
Because ships have a lifetime of 20 years or more, zero-emission vessels must begin entering the global fleet by 2030 for a 50% reduction to be achieved by 2050.