Bloom Energy and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) last week announced a collaboration to design and develop ships powered by Bloom Energy’s solid oxide fuel cell technology, Kallanish Energy reports.
Bloom Energy bills itself as the world’s leading provider of stationary fuel cells and SHI is one of the world’s largest shipbuilders.
SHI aims to be the first shipbuilder to deliver a large cargo ship for ocean operation powered by fuel cells running on natural gas. Said move will help the company exceed the 50% emissions reduction target compared to 2008 levels the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated all shipbuilders should achieve by 2050.
Approval to proceed
Samsung also announced it’s received Approval in Principle from DNV GL, the internationally accredited marine shipping registrar and classification society, in collaboration with Bloom, to proceed with a fuel cell-powered ship design for Aframax crude oil tankers (dead weight tonnage ranging between 80,000 and 120,000).
“As regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) take effect step-by-step, the introduction of fuel cells to vessels is inevitable,” said Kyunghee Kim, vice president of SHI Outfitting Engineering Team.
Today, 80% of the world’s shipping fleet runs on heavy fuel oil, or bunker fuel, both which cause high emissions. The combustion of this fuel to provide propulsion and auxiliary power to ships causes the marine transport industry to produce between 2% and 3% of global carbon emissions.
Sixth-largest GHG emitter
If the global marine shipping industry was a country, it would be the sixth-largest producer of GHG emissions in the world, according to SHI and Bloom.
The two companies estimate replacing oil-based power generation on large cargo ships, which require up to 100 megawatts of power per ship, could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by 45%.
“Bloom Energy has already helped companies around the world reduce their carbon emissions by more than four billion pounds of carbon dioxide,” said K.R. Sridhar, founder, chairman and CEO of Bloom Energy. “Bringing the Bloom Energy Server’s transformative clean technology to the shipping industry provides us with a tremendously exciting opportunity to accelerate the decarbonization of another vital sector of the global economy.”
Power through electrochemical reaction
In contrast to bunker fuel combustion, Bloom’s solid oxide fuel cells generate electric power through an electrochemical reaction, without combustion, that virtually eliminates particulate emissions, nitrous oxides and sulphur oxides.
Bloom and SHI envision onboard fuel cells being powered by natural gas, converted from liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is already commonly transported by marine shipping worldwide.
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