Finnish marine tech company Wartsila is seeking to eliminate the need for hydrogen storage on ships and exploring the potential of hydrogen bunkering technologies.
Shipping, like many sectors, is facing the challenge of decarbonization with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) goal to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50pc in 2050.
And one of the handful of fuels that can aid this process is green hydrogen.
However, storing hydrogen on vessels often presents an issue for shipowners, as it needs to be stored at a very low temperature in order to keep the hydrogen in liquid form.
In such a state, the fuel has lower energy content per volume, which means that significantly larger storage containers will be necessary, which, in turn, is difficult onboard a ship.
To help provide a solution, Wartsila is now looking into the possibility of producing hydrogen directly onboard ships and using it as fuel immediately.
In this case, ships would be bunkering liquid natural gas (LNG), which is a well-known alternative marine fuel and can be combined with steam to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide.
While the hydrogen will be burned in a combustion engine, the CO2 will be captured and stored using onboard carbon capture technology.
The company has already gathered an international team of partners to help advance these studies and the development of hydrogen bunkering.
Some of the partnering enterprises include Greek hydrogen tech company Helbio, Swedish industrial company ABB, the Liberian Registry and the shipping classification society Rina.
Every party is tasked with different parts of this extensive project.
ABB will be helping with the use of hydrogen in engines and fuel cells, while Helbio will be responsible for the gas reformers.
The Liberian Registry and Rina will be busy writing out the rules and regulations.