UK-based Expleo, a global engineering, technology and consultancy service provider, has developed a closed-loop fuel solution for global shipping that delivers a 92% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) in the model vessel. Expleo modeled its system-of-systems solution on the multi-tasking Bibby Wavemaster 1, a vessel used to service offshore wind farms.
The solution was defined during Expleo’s feasibility study into clean power propulsion systems, funded through the UK Department for Transport’s (DfT) Clean Marine Demonstration Competition (CMDC).
To meet the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) timeline for carbon emission reduction, many of the world’s 100,000 vessels will need to convert to low-carbon fuel by 2035—making the development of a viable retrofit and new build system a high priority.
Bibby Wavemaster 1, the model vessel.
Our solution uses solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology which, although highly efficient and well-suited to use in marine environments, releases a high concentration of CO2. To achieve the desired reduction in GHGe, we partnered SOFC with a novel carbon capture and storage system, enabling a vessel to use its captured CO2 and green hydrogen to synthesize e-methanol.
The green hydrogen in the solution can be produced at offshore wind farms, from surplus electrical energy or supplied in-port, ensuring the closed-loop remains as sustainable as possible.—Jonathan Taylor, VP of Marine, Expleo
Expleo’s innovation also delivers significant operational savings, with the study showing OPEX reductions of £1.4 million (US$1.7 million) per year, per ship and a projected payback period of around four years on a retrofit, for the vessel used in the model.
Expleo is now working with several partners to explore the scalability of this novel system.