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Wednesday, April 14, 2021 

ABS has added its solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) experience to an industry-leading joint development project (JDP) to accelerate development of the technology with Alfa Laval, DTU Energy, Haldor Topsoe, Svitzer and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

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 decarbonisation. ABS, a founding member of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, will focus on safety, drawing on its New Technology Qualification service to assess the technology’s ability to perform intended functions in line with defined performance requirements.

The JDP, SOFC4Maritime, will target optimal utilisation of future green fuels via application of SOFCs for power generation on marine vessels. When based on fuels such as ammonia, hydrogen or bio-methane, SOFCs hold significant potential for reducing the carbon footprint of vessel designs. Such alternatives are needed in the maritime industry, which must transition to greener power over just a few decades.

Georgios Plevrakis, ABS Director, Sustainability, said: “This technology has the potential to make a significant contribution to maritime’s decarbonization ambitions. ABS is committed to supporting its development and safe adoption by the industry and has been working with leading industry partners to advance its use. We are delighted to be able to utilize this experience to support our partners in the SOFC4Maritime project, which will advance the industry’s understanding of the exciting possibilities offered by fuel cells.”

By electrochemically converting fuel into electricity, SOFCs can potentially produce power with higher efficiency than internal combustion engines running on the same fuel – without creating polluting emissions or particulates. Ammonia-based SOFCs are especially attractive, since ammonia can be produced in large scale using renewable electricity. The research will therefore have ammonia-based SOFCs as its starting point.

Alfa Laval is heading 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 Mc-Kinney 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 initiative follows successive SOFC JDPs between ABS and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the latest to develop SOFC technology to replace at least one of three diesel generators typically on board a VLCC.

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