Image: Wärtsilä

Wärtsilä has partnered with RINA, ABB, Helbio – a subsidiary of Metacon AB, the Liberian Registry, and an energy giant to develop a hydrogen-powered solution.

The objective is to develop a scalable and sustainable solution capable of exceeding the IMO’s 2050 target of a 70% reduction in carbon intensity without requiring significant infrastructure investment. This paves the opportunity for the maritime industry to transition to low-carbon operations in a reasonable amount of time.

Due to the difficulties and costs associated with the manufacturing, delivery, and onboard storage of hydrogen, the sector’s interest in its direct use as a maritime fuel has been limited thus far. However, by generating hydrogen onboard and utilizing easily available LNG, the approach becomes significantly more viable and feasible much more quickly than would be achievable otherwise.

“Our gas engines are already able to use mixtures of hydrogen and LNG, and our future efforts will be to reach 100% hydrogen fuel. We are totally committed to supporting in every way possible the decarbonisation of shipping operations. This project is one more example of this commitment, and we are very pleased to be partnering with other stakeholders to make the IMO 2050 target achievable. This project will give owners a real chance to stay ahead of the competition in terms of efficiency and sustainability,” says Lars Anderson, Director, Product Management & Sales Support, Wärtsilä Marine Power.

The concept is based on the combination of LNG and steam to generate hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The hydrogen produced will be used directly in internal combustion engines or fuel cells in combination with natural gas, obviating the necessity for hydrogen storage onboard. The CO2 will be liquefied using the cryogenic LNG stream that would otherwise be utilized as fuel and then disposed of ashore for carbon storage. Tankers can discharge CO2 using it as an inert gas.

The required equipment can be readily installed on the deck of a commercial vessel. This novel concept will enable the marine sector to move gradually from LNG to hydrogen without requiring significant changes to a vessel’s onboard equipment.

Only LNG bunkering will be required, and by gradually increasing hydrogen generation, fossil methane consumption and associated methane slip will be reduced in lockstep.

Wärtsilä and ABB will assist the use of hydrogen in internal combustion engines and fuel cells, respectively, while Helbio will supply gas reformer technology and production. RINA and the Liberian Registry will advise and guide on the implementation of rules and regulations governing unique concept alternative designs, based on Hazid/Hazop studies, as well as on the development of particular rules for this type of arrangement.

Nedim Husomanovic

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