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Samsung Develops Engineless, Fuel Cell-Powered LNG Carrier

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SHI / BusinessWire

Published Jul 1, 2021 2:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

Samsung Heavy Industries announced Thursday that it has secured approval in principle from DNV for the development of the world's first engineless, fuel cell-powered LNG carrier.

The design features a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) powerplant produced in cooperation with U.S.-based manufacturer Bloom Energy, a specialist in natural gas-fueled SOFCs for shoreside installations.

The fuel cell-powered LNG carrier does not require a marine diesel engine for propulsion, and will derive its motive power solely from an SOFC system. Like existing diesel- and steam-powered LNG carriers, it will run on the vaporized boil-off gas from the vessel's LNG cargo tanks. It will be less polluting, with no appreciable emissions of SOx, NOx or PM. In addition, as SOFCs are marginally more efficient than two-cycle marine diesels and have no significant methane slip, the design will reduce the vessel's tank-to-wake greenhouse gas emissions. The fuel cell also has far fewer moving parts than a diesel engine, simplifying maintenance.

SHI plans to conduct a demonstration test at its LNG demonstration facility at the Geoje Shipyard, and it plans to launch full-scale marketing for the new vessel design for global shipowners. With IMO MEPC's recent adoption of new EEXI and CII requirements, SHI expects to find increased market demand for new, more efficient propulsion solutions. 

"The fuel cell-powered vessel . . . can dramatically reduce air pollutant emissions as well as noise and vibration and maintenance costs by replacing an internal combustion engine with a fuel cell," said Ho-Hyun Jeong, head of Samsung Heavy Industries' technology development division."The fuel cell propulsion system of the vessel [will] continue to lead the international standard."