Jan 11, 2023 | Marine fuel & lubricant news

Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (KSME), an intermediate holding company of HD Hyundai has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Fraunhofer in Germany and Elkogen in Estonia for the development of  a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) and water electrolysis system.

Under the agreement, Korea Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, along with Fraunhofer and Elcogen, will begin detailed design and prototype testing of large-capacity solid fuel cell systems used for ships and power generation. KSME and Fraunhofer have been working on the basic design of the fuel cell system since February 2022.

Additionally, KSME plans to secure technology to produce eco-friendly hydrogen by utilising Fraunhofer’s water electrolysis technology and Elcogen’s ability to manufacture key parts for fuel cells.

Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest applied R&D institution with 72 laboratories across Germany. Researches high-performance ceramic application technology and possesses world-class technology in the field of SOFC and water electrolysis technology. Established in 2001, Elcogen is a small but strong global company that manufactures cells, which are core parts of SOFCs, and stacks, which are aggregates of cells.

The SOFC produces electrical energy by reacting not only hydrogen but also various fuels such as natural gas, ammonia, methanol, and biofuel with oxygen. It is suitable for ship engines and cogeneration as it has high power generation efficiency and can recycle waste heat generated by high temperature (600~1000℃) operation. Among the various types of fuel cells, it is considered one of the most advanced technologies to date.

According to German consulting firm Roland Berger,  the SOFC, which is currently worth US$ 460m, is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 40.7% by 2030 to reach about US$ 7.12bn.

Kim Seong-joon, VP and head of KSME Institute for Future Technology said: “HD Hyundai Group is promoting the establishment of a ‘hydrogen value chain’ that leads to the production, transportation, storage, and utilization of eco-friendly hydrogen. Through this agreement, eco-friendly hydrogen production and fuel cell we plan to secure core technologies in the manufacturing field.”

In October 2022 KSME formed a consortium for demonstration of fuel cells for ships with global energy companies such as Shell and Doosan Fuel Cell and is conducting a fuel cell large-scale ship demonstration project.

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