DNV GL approves fuel cells for SHI tankers

The shipping sector is focused on ways to reduce GHG emissions Photo: wikimedia The shipping sector is focused on ways to reduce GHG emissions Photo: wikimedia

Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) has received approval in principle (AiP) from DNV GL for its Aframax (A-max) crude oil tankers (COT) using fuel cells with improved efficiency and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

The newly developed fuel cell-powered COTs, which replace oil-based power generators with solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) using LNG as fuel, have improved energy efficiency and significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first AiP for this type of technology.

"As regulations to reduce GHG emissions take effect step by step, the introduction of fuel cells to vessels is inevitable,” explained Kyunghee KIM, vice president of SHI. “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," he added.

When fuel cells are applied to an A-max COT which traditionally uses 3MW generator engines, GHG emissions decrease by more than 45%, as much as removing about 10,000 combustion powered cars from the roads worldwide.

The vessels have high stability thanks to cooperation with US-based Bloom Energy, which commercialised SOFCs for the first time. SHI developed the core manufacturing processes including the fuelling system and power control system for the fuel cells.

As SOFCs can use hydrogen as fuel for fuel cells in addition to LNG, it is anticipated that zero-emission hydrogen vessels will be built based on this approved technology.

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