Power Solutions
2,5 years
Alfa Laval
Haldor Topsoe
Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping
DTU Energy
Maersk Svitzer
Status: Ongoing

Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) 4 Maritime

Published — September 9, 2022

Although Power-to-X is a rapidly developing commercial concept for producing of carbon-neutral fuels, optimal use of energy (“X-to-Power”) will require that new technologies become readily available. Otherwise, accumulated system losses may limit the implementation of green e-fuels in the maritime sector. This project addresses the utilization of ammonia for the decarbonization of the maritime sector, assessing the feasibility of high efficiency power conversion by SOFC technology. Through the project, an SOFC is being designed and built to demonstrate high efficiency with system configuration tailored for ammonia fuel utilization. Furthermore, the project is exploring the full roadmap for how this technical solution will be able to outcompete conventional solutions and enable a massive reduction of the required renewable power for the maritime decarbonization over the next decades.

Project Objective

Develop and demonstrate a highly efficient 6 kW marine solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) system concept fueled by Ammonia.

This project targets efficient conversion of green fuels from Power-2-X back to power on-board ships. While conventional internal combustion engines (ICE) can also operate on green fuels as electrolysis-based ammonia or methanol, the overall efficiency is relatively low, because partial on-board reforming of these fuels to a pilot fuel is needed. SOFCs can use these fuels directly and have an excellent electrical efficiency. The first application target of this project is auxiliary power supply (gensets) for long term propulsion, but the outcomes of the project will guide development for subsequent demonstration projects for higher power capacities. The goal is to design a marine SOFC system to be assembled and tested extensively, which can demonstrate a high overall efficiency of more than 65%. This first demonstration will initially be on-shore in laboratory scale, but it is also designed with a maritime application end-perspective of being regarding the suitability of materials, durability, and compactness.

The system will be based on existing SOFC stacks from Haldor Topsoe, with Alfa Laval as project leader integrating the stacks into a maritime system comprising: heat exchangers, recirculation loops, and other components to ensure high efficiency and low CAPEX. DTU Energy will support the system design and testing, while Svitzer as a shipowner will provide the maritime requirements and operating profiles for the design and techno-economic analysis. The Centre will perform the techno-economic analysis based on input from the project partners and results, to lead the analysis of regulatory and safety for ammonia in SOFC in maritime application.

The project in progress has focused on the design concept, in collaboration with ABS, in order to ensure that the concept can meet the rules and regulations. The testing equipment at DTU Energy has been constructed. The Center’s techno-economic model completed development, with all partners contributing inputs from their area of expertise to assess the cost feasibility of a future vessel equipped with SOFC for ammonia. Efficiency improvements from SOFC have been analyzed for potential reductions of both well-to-wake CO2 emissions and land use by renewable electricity infrastructure. By completion of this project, the aim is to release reports on: the impact on total cost of ownership by regulatory and safety aspects, the performance of the SOFC, and a comparison on an estimated total cost of SOFC genset with a 4-stroke engine.

Project Milestones

April 2021

Project Kick-off

Q2 2021

SOFC system design & system requirements

Q4 2021

System assembly

Q4 2022

System testing & validation

Q4 2022

Techno-economic & LCA analysis

Point of contact

Brandon McKenna

Head of E-fuels