Photo: Alfa Laval Test and Training Centre; Image by Alfa Laval

Industry heavyweights join forces to accelerate development of solid oxide fuel cells

Alfa Laval, DTU Energy, Haldor Topsoe, Svitzer and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping are entering into a joint project to accelerate the development of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology.

Funded by a grant from Danish Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program (EUDP), the project, SOFC4Maritime, will target optimal utilization of future green fuels via application of SOFCs for power production on marine vessels.

When based on fuels such as ammonia, hydrogen or bio-methane, SOFCs hold great promise as a replacement for today’s fossil fuels.

By electrochemically converting fuel into electricity, SOFCs can potentially produce power with higher efficiency than internal combustion engines running on the same fuel – without creating polluting emissions or particulates. Ammonia-based SOFCs are especially attractive, since ammonia can be produced in large scale using renewable electricity and no biomass resource. The research will therefore have ammonia-based SOFCs as its starting point.

Alfa Laval will head the development initiative, Haldor Topsoe will provide the underlying SOFC stack technology, while DTU Energy will support in system layout and component testing. Svitzer will bring a shipowner perspective and the Mærsk McKinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping will ensure a broad industry overview, end-to-end analysis of various energy pathways and a detailed techno-economic analysis.

“Addressing shipping’s environmental challenges – and climate change in particular – will require a diverse range of strong technologies. By partnering with fellow marine industry experts, we can investigate the possibilities and bring them to fruition in time to make a difference,” Sameer Kalra, President, Alfa Laval Marine Division, said.

“We are proud to contribute with our competences within SOFC technology and ammonia as a marine fuel in order to reduce carbon emissions from shipping. This is an urgent goal in combatting climate change,”  Kim Grøn Knudsen, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Haldor Topso, commented.

“We are eager to pursue this project, which will provide essential information and enhance the feasibility of future pathways to zero carbon shipping based on SOFCs,” Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, noted.

Achieving the long-term target of decarbonization requires new fuel types and systemic change within the industry.

To accelerate the development of viable technologies, a coordinated effort within applied research is needed across the entire supply chain. Industry leaders play a critical role in ensuring that laboratory research is successfully matured to scalable solutions that match shipping needs.