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Samsung Heavy Industries, Bloom Energy partner on fuel cell tech

30 Sep 2019

Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) and fuel cell technology firm Bloom Energy on Wednesday (25 September) announced a collaboration to design and develop ships powered by solid oxide fuel cell technology.

SHI aims to be the first shipbuilder to deliver a large cargo ship for ocean operation powered by fuel cells running on natural gas.

Replacing combustion-based power generation from bunker oil with electrochemical conversion of LNG through fuel cells could have a profound impact on carbon emissions from marine transportation, it says.

In contrast to bunker fuel combustion, Bloom Energy solid oxide fuel cells generate electric power through an electrochemical reaction.

Bloom Energy Servers use natural gas, biogas or hydrogen as fuel. Bloom Energy and SHI envision onboard fuel cells being powered by natural gas, converted from LNG.

Bloom Energy and SHI estimate that replacing oil-based power generation on large cargo ships, which require up to 100 megawatts of power per ship, could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by 45%.

At a ceremony in the SHI Geoje shipyard, Samsung Heavy Industries announced they have received Approval in Principle from DNV GL in collaboration with Bloom Energy to proceed with a fuel cell-powered ship design for Aframax crude oil tankers (COTs).

“As regulations to reduce GHG emissions take effect step-by-step, the introduction of fuel cells to vessels is inevitable,” said Kyunghee Kim, vice president of SHI Outfitting Engineering Team.

“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.”

“It is a meaningful GHG emissions reduction measure to apply Bloom Energy’s fuel cell system to SHI’s new Aframax design. SHI’s new Aframax design is equipped with a new generating system in combination of the conventional, generator engines, and the new fuel cell technology, both fueled with LNG,” said Hwa Lyong Lee, vice president of Regional Business Development, Maritime at DNV GL.

“This innovative design is one of the ways to improve GHG emissions, to further make LNG a solid and long-term solution.”

Bloom Energy Servers have been deployed hundreds of times on land including on-site at commercial and industrial businesses, counting 25 of the Fortune 100 companies.

The same technology has been approved by DNV GL to be deployed aboard ships with minor modifications to suit ship installation and use in an enclosed environment.

“Bloom Energy has already helped companies around the world reduce their carbon emissions by more than four billion pounds of CO2,” said KR Sridhar, founder, chairman and CEO of Bloom Energy.

“Bringing the Bloom Energy Server’s transformative clean technology to the shipping industry provides us with a tremendously exciting opportunity to accelerate the decarbonisation of another vital sector of the global economy.”

Photo credit: Bloom Energy
Published: 30 September, 2019


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