Can marine hydrogen fuel be the answer to net-zero shipping?

Marine hydrogen fuel technology could generate energy on board all vessels. This would make it possible for the fuel to be produced with reduced carbon emissions. When the fuel itself is used, it will not produce any carbon emissions.

According to Antonis Trakakis – RINA Hellas Classification Society Technical Director Marine –  the use of H2 in this way will help the marine industry to be able to meet its 2050 emissions reduction target.

Hydrogen is typically found naturally as a compound of either water or methane. To acquire pure hydrogen, the element must be separated from these compounds. At standard conditions, hydrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, relatively nonreactive and highly combustible gas with a wide flammability range.

marine hydrogen fuel

The maritime shipping industry contributes an estimated 3% to total global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the fact that many governments, companies and sectors are aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, the maritime industry’s emissions are expected to rise by as much as 130 percent within that same span of time.

How would marine hydrogen fuel work?

Trakakis proposed the combination of LNG with steam in a gas reformer. This would convert the LNG molecules into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This production process would reduce the carbon emissions from ships when compared to the use of current fossil fuels. However, producing H2 in this way is not entirely carbon emission-free, particularly as Trakakis did not make specific recommendations for the use of carbon capture and storage technology. Using the fuel itself to power the ship can be accomplished without any carbon emissions.

Hydrogen is challenging and expensive to deliver and store on a ship. Marine can solve these challenges. Methanol to hydrogen generator products are simple, robust, and cost-effective and produce pure fuel cell grade hydrogen anywhere you need it, in real-time, as required by the marine fuel cell power solution.

No expensive and volume-intensive high-pressure hydrogen storage is required on the vessel, and the ship is able to achieve target mission ranges before refueling.

Also read Forget free shipping. What about zero emissions shipping?

Our work with hydrogen

Universal Kraft works with hydrogen as a green option to fossil fuels, providing the same functionality on a large scale. Complementary to direct electrification, hydrogen gives the green industry a chance to contribute beyond the grid, via the generation of green hydrogen as energy storage, greening of gas through methanation of hydrogen and feedstock for high-temperature local industrial processes that are difficult to electrify.

These green power alternatives are fundamental for a sustainable and complete clean energy transition. Universal Kraft has been working on alternative and innovative energy storage solutions for a number of years. To optimize the decarbonization potential of renewables for the generation of green hydrogen and ammonia we work with our partner company Universal H2.

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