An Odfjell chemical tanker will be the test-bed for a new, flexible fuel-cell technology project featuring input from Odfjell Tankers, Prototech, Wärtsilä and Lundin Energy Norway.
As part of the project to test a fuel-cell technology capable of using a range of fuels, an Odfjell chemical tanker will be fitted with a pilot system that will first be tested at the Sustainable Energy catapult centre in Norway.
The key feature is new technology that allows for many different types of fuel, including green ammonia and LNG. With this flexibility, vessels can choose fuel according to availability.
Odfjell’s vice president of technology Erik Hjortland said: “Ships are to be operated for 20-30 years, and we need flexible solutions that can meet future emission requirements.
“The fuel-cell project is one of the paths we are pursuing. We focus on machinery rather than focusing on one single type of fuel. Fuel-cell technology gives us flexibility that ensures environmentally efficient operation, regardless of fuel changes that may occur in the years ahead.”
Prototech is providing the fuel-cell technology. Prototech’s chief executive officer Bernt Skeie, said: “Our tests show a CO2 reduction of as much as 45% when using LNG, compared to current solutions. Increased efficiency and reduced fuel consumption also provide significant cost savings, and the ship will be able to sail significantly longer on the same amount of energy. The system will also be ready to operate completely emission-free from the locations where, for instance, ammonia is available for bunkering.”
Mr Skeie added: “The technology also enables direct capture of CO2, which will be yet another alternative for emission-free operation when logistics for CO2 management become available.”
Wärtsilä’s technical director Ingve Sørfonn said: “The new energy solution has the potential to take us a big step closer to the goal of climate neutrality. Fuel flexibility will be a significant contribution to secure future solutions for new ships. And it does not stop with ships, this solution can also be used in offshore oil and gas operations.”
Norwegian Shipowners’ Association’s chief executive officer Harald Solberg, said: “In the long run, scaling up such solutions will be of great importance in achieving our climate goals; they will have business value, and they can create new jobs in Norway. Norwegian shipping has set ambitious climate goals. This type of projects is very important for us to be able to develop solutions that quickly reduce emissions.”
To date, the project has been funded with support from Gassnova, NFR, and the participants themselves. A 1.2. MW prototype fuel cell is under construction and will be tested at the Sustainable Energy catapult centre at Stord, Norway.
The fuel cell it will be mounted and tested onboard one of Odfjell’s newest chemical tankers.
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