Hydrogen PEM fuel cell system to retrofit ships in the marine transport industry

Under the ‘Fit for 55 package’ the EU has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 % by 2030, aiming for climate neutrality by 2050. As a result, shipping will face stringent regulations. Cost-efficient fuel cell systems for retrofitting existing vessels, proper hydrogen infrastructure for vessel refuelling and safe hydrogen storage are deemed crucial to achieving these ambitious goals. Comprising a consortium of 10 partners, the EU-funded HyEkoTank project will develop a 2.4 MW fuel cell system on the 18 600 deadweight tonnage (DWT) product tanker. The hydrogen tanker concept will be a state-of-the-art vessel retrofitted to reduce greenhouse gas emissions during voyage and in port by 100 %.

The HyEkoTank project will develop cost-effective technology for retrofitting seagoing and inland waterway vessels with hydrogen PEM fuel cell systems for emission-free operations. Retrofit solutions are urgently needed to transform the waterborne transport and reach the reduction of green house gas emissions established by EU and IMO by 2050. HyEkoTank project proposes the design, development, approval and demonstration of a 2.4 MW hydrogen fuel cell system. The technology will be developed by a consortium of 10 partners who are experts in the field and demonstrated by retrofitting a 18600 DWT tanker, EK Stream, under operation at 3 different journeys from Porvoo in the Baltic Sea. The main challenges that need to be resolved concern the development of a cost-efficient fuel cell system specifically designed for maritime applications and suitable to retrofit existing vessels, as well as the assessment and creation of hydrogen infrastructure and logistics for vessel refueling in ports, as well as safe hydrogen storage and handling. We aim at approving the HyEkoTank technology to deploy it for any type of vessel and operation, while demonstrating the expected environmental impacts: 55% GHG reduction during voyage, 100% reduction in port, and 62% total reduction yearly. The project will take the technology from TRL 4/5 to TRL 8.

The HyEkoTank consortium is mostly composed by companies with industrial/commercial interest in the project results: TECO 2030 AS (NO), Shell International Exploration & Production B.V. (NL), Shell International Trading & Shipping Company Limited (UK), Ektank AB (SE), Neste Oyj (FI), Fartygskonstruktioner AB (SE), Blom Maritime AS (NO), Teco Solutions AS (NO), Umoe Advanced Composites AS (NO). They are all experienced in providing services and commercializing products in the hydrogen and/or maritime fields. The consortium also counts with the participation of an academic partner, Universitetet i Tromsø - Norges Arktiske Universitet (NO).

More information about the project can be found at the project website