Shell-led consortium to test fuel cell power on LNG carrier

A unit of LNG giant Shell has signed a consortium agreement with KSOE, HyAxiom, Doosan Fuel Cell, JP Morgan Asset Management, and DNV to develop solid oxide fuel cell technology for the shipping sector.

Under the deal, Shell International Trading and Shipping and its partners aim to design, manufacture and install a 600 kilowatts (kW) solid oxide fuel cell auxiliary power unit on a Shell-chartered LNG vessel for a year of testing in 2025.

According to a statement by Shell, the trial is dependent on the results of feasibility studies currently underway.

Under the deal, HyAxiom and DFCC will provide the SOFC APU while KSOE will act as the system integrator in addition to deploying the technology.

Moreover, DNV will provide technical and safety expertise while Shell will charter the demonstration vessel and coordinate with partners.

JP Morgan and Shell previously signed deals for LNG carrier charters. JP Morgan ordered these vessels at KSOE’s Hyundai Heavy Industries.

Future fuel

A solid oxide fuel cell is a fuel to energy converter that can be designed to run on today’s marine fuels, in addition to all plausible future fuels, including hydrogen.

Due to this flexibility, this technology could be “critical” in enabling the transition from the marine fuels in service today, to the fuels required in the future, Shell said.

The trial aims to test the technology’s decarbonization potential, prove its scalability as a propulsion solution for shipping and enable wider industry acceptance of fuel cells.

Data collected over the year of testing would provide information on integrating SOFC technology with shipboard systems, enabling more efficient operations and creating the insight necessary to build future low and zero-emission vessels, Shell said.

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