Samsung HI shipbuilding has been given approval in principle to offer an Aframax tanker design that incorporates fuel cells instead of traditional diesel-powered generators
A proposed Aframax tanker design from Samsung HI will replace the diesel / bunker fuel generators with Bloom Energy fuel cells. USA-based Bloom Energy is one of the market leaders in the technologies and supplies fuel cells to smooth peak power loads in a variety of land-based industrial settings where the fuel cells replace traditional generators. In the Aframax tanker design that has been approved in principle by DNV GL, the Bloom Energy fuel cells are powered by LNG.
This suggests the proposed Aframax tanker is also powered or dual-fuel powered with LNG. Bloom Energy reports that the design could also use hydrogen as the fuel. Bloom Energy reports that “fuel cell-powered ships could transition from natural gas fuel to hydrogen fuel and become zero-carbon and zero-smog emitters.”
The collaboration opens up a new market for Bloom Energy: “Bloom installation sizes average below 5 MW. With each individual ship drawing 20 MW of power or more, the market opportunity, and the potential to reduce emissions from global shipping, are both very substantial.”
Samsung HI claims the approval in principle makes it the first shipyard to develop Aframax tankers in response to IMO’s strict emissions policy: "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 Samsung HI vice president Kyunghee Kim.
How soon with generators be replaced by fuel cells? Hear more about the changes taking place in tanker technology at the Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference, Exhibition and Awards to be held in London in November.