Hanwa Group to build zero-emission gas carrier powered by alternative fuels
Dong Kwan Kim, Vice Chairman of South Korean business conglomerate Hanwha Group, has unveiled a new vision for the decarbonization of shipping and introduced Hanwha’s plans to build a zero-emission gas carrier at the 2024 World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland.
Powered entirely by alternative fuels, the new vessel will be an industry first — developed using Hanwha’s proprietary green technology.
Speaking at the WEF annual meeting, Kim emphasized the importance of global collaboration to bring such green technologies to fruition and grow market demand.
Hanwha has a strong footprint in clean energy, with a value chain covering the production of solar, hydrogen, and wind energy as well as clean energy storage systems. This announcement further advances Hanwha’s commitment to a stronger clean energy value chain, which includes carbon-free transport in shipping.
“Hanwha is challenging existing industry frameworks, spearheading new innovations, and paving the way for maritime decarbonization,” Dong Kwan (DK) Kim said.
“We’re taking a holistic approach to the energy transition, driving disruptive change not only in the production and storage of clean energy but in transportation as well. Advancing green ship technology and establishing a robust clean energy value chain will help us gain ground in our journey toward net zero.”
At a session titled “The First Fossil-Free Ship on the Water,” Kim shared Hanwha’s blueprint for the development of a carbon-free vessel powered by alternative fuels such as ammonia.
As existing internal combustion engines require 5% to 15% of pilot fuel, diesel, for the purpose of ignition, building a vessel free of carbon emissions requires a fundamentally different approach. This is why Hanwha is developing an ammonia-powered gas turbine to replace conventional engines, thus eliminating the need for pilot fuel.
To achieve carbon-free electrification, Hanwha also plans to install hydrogen fuel cells with energy storage systems (ESS) as the vessel’s auxiliary source of power. An integrated ammonia cracker will produce the hydrogen required for the fuel cells on board.
Kim also announced plans to own and operate the newly developed green ships to bring the technology to maturity. Deep-sea vessels are capital-intensive investments. They take anywhere from two to three years to build and remain in service for two to three decades, making it extremely difficult for shipowners to invest in budding technologies.
By demonstrating the benefits of green ship technology, Hanwha aims to lower the barriers for shipowner investment and drive demand.
In November, Hanwha Ocean joined the World Economic Forum’s First Movers Coalition (FMC), a leading global initiative supported by 13 government partners that represent over 50% of global GDP. The FMC aims to harness the purchasing power of the world’s leading companies to create guaranteed early markets for advanced technologies within hard-to-abate sectors, including shipping, steel, chemicals, and aviation.
As one of the 95 members, comprising top global companies and non-profit organizations, Hanwha aims to create new partnerships and pilot programs to build sustained momentum for the adoption and commercialization of green ship technology.
“We are thrilled to welcome Hanwha to the First Movers Coalition, marking a significant step in our collective journey towards a net-zero future. Hanwha’s commitment underscores the critical role of innovative collaboration in accelerating the decarbonization of the shipping industry,” Rob van Riet, Interim Head of the FMC, commented.
“Together, we are poised to make impactful strides in reducing emissions and setting new standards for global shipping.”
The decarbonization of shipping is seen as integral in the journey to net zero, as nearly 90% of all globally traded goods are shipped by sea, accounting for 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As a strategic partner of the WEF, Hanwha is involved in multiple climate action initiatives.