Photo: AFC Energy

ZeroCoaster ammonia-powered cargo ship wins DNV AiP

Classification society DNV has awarded approval in principle (AiP) status for the ZeroCoaster ammonia-fuelled cargo ship, confirming an independent assessment that the ship’s design is feasible and there are no obstacles to the design being commercially realised.

ZeroCoaster
Image Courtesy: AFC Energy

This is the first time an alkaline fuel cell with ammonia cracker and fuel storage has received this approval, according to AFC Energy, the UK-based provider of hydrogen power generation technologies.

The AiP is said to be a milestone achievement set to unlock the adoption of ammonia and high energy dense alkaline fuel cell technology in the multi-billion-dollar effort to decarbonise global maritime.

ZeroCoaster Consortium is led by Vard Engineering Brevik AS and includes ABB, Trosvik Maritime, SINTEF Ocean and HK Shipping and is sponsored by the Norwegian Government. The objective is to design next-generation coastal cargo ships to accelerate the transition to zero-emission shipping solutions.

AFC Energy began work with VARD, ABB and ZeroCoaster partners in June 2021 to design and engineer a modularised bulk carrier cargo ship propulsion system fuelled with green ammonia. The technology chosen for the ship’s 1.2MW capacity is AFC Energy’s new “S” Series heavy duty marinised platform which is expected to host 2 x 600kW of alkaline fuel cell systems plus ammonia cracking technology within modular 40ft containers.

VARD will now commence commercial discussions with prospective customers for the purchase of new ammonia fuelled ships, featuring AFC Energy’s marinised fuel cell and cracker module.

“We strongly believe in the role green ammonia will play in supporting industry’s aspirations to “go green”, and working alongside … AFC Energy, we are pleased to have gained confirmation of our AiP from DNV, highlighting what we understand to be a world first in ship design for ammonia fuel cell and cracker utilisation,” Andreas Buskop, General Manager, Engineering at Vard Engineering Brevik AS, commented.

“We now look forward to further working with AFC Energy in taking this design to commercial fruition.”

“Having worked in design concepts for the past six months on the marinisation of our integrated, heavy duty fuel cell and cracker technologies, we are pleased to have been invited to partner with … ship designers and builders such as VARD to highlight the potential for the safe and compliant propulsion and auxiliary powering of cargo ships as part of the ZeroCoaster project,” Adam Bond, Chief Executive Officer at AFC Energy, said.

DNV, one of the world’s leading classification and certification bodies in the maritime industry, has evaluated the design and integration of the alkaline fuel cell module with in-built cracker and concluded that the design complies with all relevant maritime rules, regulations and standards.

The ZeroCoaster coastal bulk cargo programme aims to evaluate and present zero-emission ship design solutions using alternative maritime fuelling systems, including green ammonia.

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The programme, funded by the Research Council of Norway, will now look to incorporate the storage, handling and cracking of green ammonia fuel to generate hydrogen which is then utilised within a zero-emission alkaline fuel cell system supplied by AFC Energy for propulsion and auxiliary power.

Norway has set a target to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030, which is expected to require up to 1,100 zero-emission (or low-emission) ships in Norway alone, including 450 bulk cargo ships such as the ZeroCoaster.

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Green ammonia has been highlighted as a key fuel to support the decarbonisation of the global maritime industry with estimates suggesting the fuel could be used to decarbonise up to 25-30% of maritime fleets.