Finland’s Wartsila has entered into a joint development agreement with compatriot Hycamite TCD Technologies to work together to enable production of hydrogen from LNG onboard marine vessels.
Hycamite is a privately-owned Finnish company specializing in the development of a technology for producing hydrogen and solid carbon from methane.
According to a statement by Wartsila, the concept design for the technology would be ready by mid-2023 and the prototype testing unit would be ready during the second half of 2024.
The concept would allow the use of existing LNG infrastructure and enable production of hydrogen onboard in combination with Wartsila’s LNGPac fuel gas supply system.
By producing hydrogen onboard and blending it with LNG, the current range of fuel flexible Wartsila dual-fuel (DF) engines can reduce the vessel’s overall carbon dioxide and methane slip emissions, Wartsila said.
Alternatively, fuel cells onboard can also use the produced hydrogen, it said.
The by-product from the process is solid carbon that, unlike conventional technologies which produce carbon-dioxide (CO2) as a by-product, can more easily be stored and managed onboard.
Also, the carbon produced consists of high-grade allotropes, like industrial graphite and carbon nanotubes, thereby offering a possible additional revenue stream, Wartsila said.
The firm said that all vessels operating with LNG fuel can in principle use this technology.
When using bio-LNG, this solution enables even power generation on board ships with a negative carbon footprint, Wartsila added.