Solid oxide fuel cells could play big role in shipping decarbonization

Written by Nick Blenkey
image description

Alfa Laval Test and Training Center

A new initiative is targeting solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) as a key to the optimal utilization of fuels such as ammonia, hydrogen or bio-methane for power production in marine vessels.

The SOFC4 Maritime project will see Alfa Laval, DTU Energy, Haldor Topsoe, Svitzer and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping cooperate to accelerate the development of SOFC technology. Funded by a grant from Danish EUDP (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program), the partners will pursue a high-efficiency solution with the scalability to support marine industry decarbonization.

By electrochemically converting fuel into electricity, SOFCs can potentially produce power with higher efficiency than internal combustion engines running on the same fuel—without creating polluting emissions or particulates. Ammonia-based SOFCs are especially attractive, since ammonia can be produced on a large scale using renewable electricity and no biomass resource. The research will therefore have ammonia-based SOFCs as its starting point.

Alfa Laval will head the development initiative. Haldor Topsoe will provide the underlying SOFC stack technology, while DTU Energy will support in system layout and component testing. Svitzer will bring a shipowner perspective and the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping will ensure a broad industry overview, end-to-end analysis of various energy pathways and a detailed techno-economic analysis.

“Addressing shipping’s environmental challenges—and climate change in particular – will require a diverse range of strong technologies,” says Sameer Kalra, president, Alfa Laval Marine Division. “By partnering with fellow marine industry experts, we can investigate the possibilities and bring them to fruition in time to make a difference.”

“We are proud to contribute with our competences within SOFC technology and ammonia as a marine fuel in order to reduce carbon emissions from shipping,” says Kim Grøn Knudsen, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Haldor Topsoe. “This is an urgent goal in combatting climate change.

“Our know-how in the performance and testing of SOFC technology and components will be utilized well in this important project aimed at a carbon-free shipping industry,” says Søren Linderoth, Head of Department, DTU Energy.

“We are eager to pursue this project, which will provide essential information and enhance the feasibility of future pathways to zero carbon shipping based on SOFCs,” says Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping.

Categories: Environment, News, Technology Tags: , , , , , , , , ,