Photo: Image courtesy: Doosan Fuel Cell

Navig8, Doosan Fuel Cell to develop fuel cells for ships

South Korean fuel cell developer Doosan Fuel Cell has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Singaporean shipper Navig8 to develop fuel cells for ships.

The move comes as the shipping sector embarks on a path to decarbonize in line with the ever more stringent regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the cooperation plan, Doosan FuelCell will mount a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) currently under development on a 50,000-ton petrochemical product carrier owned by Navig8.

Once installed, the duo will conduct a demonstration test to prove the viability of the fuel cells as a propulsion power and power source for the ship.

“While no specific vessel has been targeted to pilot at this stage, LNG fuel is likely to be the fuel of choice in the first phase of development, with next phase developments incorporating ammonia and hydrogen as fuels,” Navig8 said.

The SOFC system is a device for electrochemical conversion that generates electricity by oxidizing fuel.

Doosan Fuel Cells are at an advanced stage of feasibility studies, and the aim is to progress towards a prototype.

 The fuel cell company added that Navig8 would be in charge of various technical support activities for the actual application of the technology as well as ship design review in cooperation with related organizations such as the Korean Register of Shipping.

“Navig8 will bring to the venture a global shipping network, access to maritime and financial markets, as well as considerable technical experience and contacts, having supervised the construction of 116 Newbuild tankers over the last 7 years at a wide range of yards,” Navig8 said in a release.

According to Yoo Su-Kyung, CEO of Doosan Fuel Cell, the MoU will pave the way for the acceleration of the commercialization of fuel cell technology in the shipping industry providing a good alternative to the sector to meet its environmental objectives.

Navig8 owns, operates or manages a fleet in excess of 150 oil and chemical tankers, and is the world’s largest independently owned tanker pool operator.