Doosan fuel cell partners with Hyundai shipbuilding group to co-develop fuel cell for vessels

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 18, 2021, 17:00 Updated : March 18, 2021, 17:16

[Courtesy of Doosan Fuel Cell]

SEOUL -- Doosan Fuel Cell, the clean energy wing of South Korea's Doosan Group, partnered with the world's largest shipbuilder to co-develop a megawatt-class solid oxide fuel cell system for vessels. The new highly-efficient fuel cell system will help vessels greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) is a device that produces electricity by oxidizing fuel. SOFC is considered to be the most stable and power-efficient among its fuel cell brothers. Because SOFC has a high power output compared to its size, the fuel cell system is ideal for powering mega-sized heavy equipment such as oil tankers and giant tunnel boring machines.

Doosan Fuel Cell said in a statement on March 18 that it would work with the holding company of South Korea's Hyundai shipbuilding group to jointly develop and demonstrate a SOFC system. "SOFC for vessels can replace conventional power generators as well as the main engine for propulsion," Doosan Fuel Cell's managing director Moon Sang-jin was quoted as saying.

Doosan Fuel Cell said the efficiency of the new SOFC system can be upgraded through an energy management system. It would design a fuel cell system, evaluate stability, and develop system control technologies, while the shipbuilding group will design fuel cell layout and develop control technologies.

According to Doosan, a SOFC system for vessels will use liquefied natural gas to have a power output of more than 40 percent compared to conventional diesel engines. South Korean shipbuilders have jumped into the race to develop new SOFC systems. Many vessel operators are switching to clean energy systems as the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a U.N. maritime safety agency, has adopted mandatory energy-efficiency measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from ships.

In January, a crude carrier with a solid oxide fuel cell propulsion system developed by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering won certification from the American Bureau of Shipping, a maritime classification society. Samsung Heavy Industries has partnered with Bloom Energy to develop core technologies for highly efficient solid oxide fuel cells for ships by 2022.
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