Daewoo shipyard delivers plant installed with methanol steam reforming system for submarine fuel cells

By Lim Chang-won Posted : November 24, 2021, 12:55 Updated : November 24, 2021, 12:55

[Courtesy of DSME]

SEOUL -- Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, a shipbuilder involved in the construction of attack submarines, delivered a plant installed with a methanol steam reforming system for submarine fuel cells following a successful performance test that met requirements requested by a defense technology provider.

 The plant that produces high purity hydrogen through methanol and water was delivered to the Agency for Defense Development (ADD), a defense technology development agency which has developed related technologies to enhance the operational performance of submarines.

 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) joined hands with domestic companies to produce a high-pressure plant based on ADD's methanol-reforming, hydrogen refining and heat source supply technologies. "We have demonstrated the world's best technological competitiveness in this field," DSME's R&D institute head Choi Dong-kyu said in a statement on November 24. 

Fuel cells increase design flexibility. An air-independent fuel cell propulsion system increases underwater endurance, diving depth and overall efficiency. Hydrogen supply generally uses metal hydride cylinders. Separate auxiliary facilities were required for hydrogen charging and charging time was long.

DSME said the fuel reforming method using methanol has high storage efficiency and improves the submarine's operation capability. Space efficiency is high and fuel supply is easy. There is no need for separate facilities for recharging and the charging period is short.

Methanol is an inflammable liquid which is emerging as a new clean-burning fuel. Unlike natural gas that requires high pressure and cryogenic temperatures, methanol is easy to store and transport even at room temperature and general atmospheric pressure. One problem with high concentrations of methanol in fuel is that alcohols corrode some metals.
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