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

Industry players join forces to accelerate development of solid oxide fuel cells
Alfa Laval Test and Training Centre.

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 EUDP (Energy Technology Development and Demonstration Program), the partners will pursue a high-efficiency solution with the scalability to support marine industry decarbonisation.

The project, SOFC4Maritime, will target optimal utilisation 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. Such alternatives are needed in the maritime industry, which must transition to greener power over just a few decades.

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,” explained Sameer Kalra, president, Alfa Laval marine division.

“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,” said Kim Grøn Knudsen, chief strategy & innovation officer, Haldor Topsoe.

“Our know-how in the performance and testing of SOFC technology and components will be utilised well in this important project aimed at a carbon-free shipping industry,” commented Søren Linderoth, head of department, DTU Energy.