Aframax fuel cell design project gets AiP

Sep 27 2019

Samsung Heavy Industries is designing what it claims could be the first large commercial vessel powered by fuel cells that run on natural gas.

Together with Bloom Energy, a manufacturer of solid oxide fuel cells, SHI has received an Approval in Principle (AiP) from DNV GL to move forward with a fuel cell-powered ship design for an Aframax.


“As regulations to reduce GHG emissions take effect step-by-step, the introduction of fuel cells to vessels is inevitable. This approval, and being the first shipbuilder to secure this marine fuel cell technology, illustrates that Samsung Heavy is highly likely to lead the market,” said Kyunghee Kim, vice president of SHI's outfitting engineering team.


The new design features both conventional engines and Bloom Energy's fuel cells, all powered by LNG. If the project is successful, it could go a long way towards meeting the IMO's climate goal of a 50% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.


Bloom Energy and SHI said that they believed that by replacing oil-based power generation on large cargo ships with LNG-powered fuel cells, this could reduce shipping's annual greenhouse gas emissions by 45%. In the future, Bloom's fuel cells -Energy Servers - can also run on biogas or on hydrogen, which could further reduce their carbon footprint.


Bloom's VP of strategic market development, Preeti Pande, explained that the Energy Server power units are modular and can be placed on board the ship in a space-maximising arrangement. Because of their modularity, they can also be easily maintained. They have a normal lifespan of about five years, and when it comes to an overhaul, service crews can replace the main components - individual ‘stacks’ of cells - without taking the entire unit offline.


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