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Wärtsilä partners with Hycamite to develop technology for onboard production of hydrogen from LNG

The technology group Wärtsilä has entered into a joint development agreement with Hycamite TCD Technologies, a privately-owned Finnish company specializing in the development of technology for the thermo-catalytic decomposition (TCD) of methane to produce clean hydrogen and solid carbon. The two companies will work together to enable cost-effective production of hydrogen from LNG onboard marine vessels.

The concept design will be ready by mid 2023 and the prototype testing unit will be ready during the second half of 2024.


The concept will allow the existing LNG infrastructure to be utilized and enable production of hydrogen onboard in combination with Wärtsilä’s LNGPac Fuel Gas Supply System. By producing hydrogen onboard and blending it with LNG, the current range of fuel flexible Wärtsilä dual-fuel (DF) engines can reduce the vessel’s overall carbon dioxide and methane slip emissions. Alternatively, the hydrogen can also be used in fuel cells onboard.

The technology can in principle be applied for all vessels operating with LNG fuel. When using bioLNG, this solution enables even power generation on board ships with a negative carbon footprint.

The by-product from the process is solid carbon that, unlike conventional technologies which produce carbon-dioxide as a by-product, can more easily be stored and managed onboard. The carbon produced consists of high-grade allotropes, such as industrial graphite and carbon nanotubes, thereby offering a possible additional revenue stream.

We are investing in the development of viable future marine fuel technologies and solutions that can accelerate the efforts to decarbonise shipping operations. This collaboration with Hycamite is an important step forward towards meeting our corporate targets. Our gas engines can already operate with mixtures of hydrogen and LNG. The ability to produce the H2 onboard opens up exciting new opportunities. This solution overcomes the lack of an existing hydrogen supply infrastructure. It also supports reducing the safety risks around storing and handling of liquid hydrogen and enables a gradual decrease of the vessels’ environmental impact.

—Mathias Jansson, Director, Fuel Gas Supply Systems, Wärtsilä



In another thread regarding the conversion of ammonia to hydrogen on site,
mahonj said:

' It is a pity they can't split methane (or xAne) in a similar manner.


Dunno how you do it, but you must have a direct line to the Big Man upstairs!
This would appear to be exactly what you have defined, as if you can put it on a ship, presumably you can put it on a garage forecourt.

Solid carbon definitively stores the CO2.


@Dave, indeed. It would be very nice to be able to separate the carbon from the Hydrogen in hydrocarbons if it could be done efficiently.

However, "This solution overcomes the lack of an existing hydrogen supply infrastructure. It also supports reducing the safety risks around storing and handling of liquid hydrogen and enables a gradual decrease of the vessels’ environmental impact."
Looks like this could be a smokescreen for greenwashing a methane powered ship.
- Don't get me wrong, methane is a lot cleaner than bunker oil and other marine liquid fuels, but they will be able to give it an extra green halo with this.
Still, it is interesting ...


Lots of things 'could be' this and that, if improper motivations are assumed.

For any technology, and perhaps for more or less any action, if you assume the worst, then they 'could be' pretty bad.

Stuff has to be implemented right, whatever it is.

Its gradual as it can work in conjunction with present systems, LNG, combustion engines.

But it can also operate with pure hydrogen, and fuel cells, as costs drop and that becomes more practical.

Sure, we could still screw things up, but it opens up more possibilities of not doing so.


LNG has become an important fuel even reducing the importance of pipelines, e.g. Nordstream, particularly in Europe. There is a Global infrastructure in place and Wartsila is developing engines that will use 100% H2 so this looks like it has good potential. Of course, there still needs to be zero methane emissions in the natural gas distribution system.
Basically, this is called “Turquoise Hydrogen” vs “Blue”, and the cost is competitive with “Grey” H2. Hycamite uses thermo-catalytic decomposition (TCD) of methane pyrolysis that looks interesting.
Here is a little more detailed look at the process:


Hi Gryf.

Solid carbon storage obviate any sensible concern about its permanence.

JamesDo, a PhD chemist posting here, and our subsequent discussion and examination of the literature, convinced me that done right underground gas storage is also perfectly practical for the long term, and that concerns about it are overblown, although to be sure it has to be done competently, as do so many other things:


None of this means that all problems of distribution and leakage are totally solved, of course, but those are very much second order issues, and nothing like what we have historically, and presently done, of simply ripping out fossil fuels from the ground, without overmuch care for waste and water as well as the air, and burning it whilst chucking away cooling energy for that.

We are nothing like home and dry, but ignoring progress is just foolish, and many of the technologies we are developing give any reasonable person considerable grounds for optimism, however cautious.

Ammonia, LNG, hydrogen, all of them WAY better than the dirty bunker fuel we are burning at the moment, so lets recognise progress for what it is, just that.

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